Dictatorial policing

Police officers on duty in Hillsborough ahead of the derby game as fans disembark from a tram. Picture: Dean Atkins
Police officers on duty in Hillsborough ahead of the derby game as fans disembark from a tram. Picture: Dean Atkins
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Have your say

I would like to complain about the dictatorial behaviour from the police around the Sheffield derby.

We got on the tram at just after 12pm in the city centre. We moved around 1.5 miles in 20 minutes with the tram crawling.

We then came to a stop and were locked on the tram for around 15 minutes, with the tram being extremely crowded and hot.

Some people were finding it hard to breath.

We then were told that we fans kicked the tram’s door open so the tram had to stop.

Let me be clear. That came after.

When we got off the tram we were around one-mile away from the ground with the kick-off five minutes away.

Yet police said it was our fault we would miss the game. When we got near the ground some 20 minutes into the game, the stewards appeared to be ignorant to the fact that 1,000 people were trying to get in.

People were getting crushed literally up against the outer railings and the stewards said move back.

How could we possibly move back with 990 or so people behind.?

All the police did was provoke the whole situation.

I paid £42 for a ticket and saw 65 minutes of the match - I blame the police’s lack of intelligence and the club’s stewards.

Jonny

by email

Causing more problems

I heard on the radio the perspective of South Yorkshire Police on the perceived ‘success’ of your operation for the Sheffield Derby - but I feel it is totally disingenuous to suggest the operation was a success.

Should the views of the fans not also be put forward?

According to a Sheffield United forum, and numerous comments from fans on Twitter, the police halted a sweltering hot tram bound for Hillsborough for over an hour, causing hundreds of fans to miss the first 20 minutes of the game, (and United’s first two goals).

Then, a steward was recorded blocking the entrance to the turnstiles when the fans eventually got to the ground, causing a dangerous crush outside and meaning fans missed even more of the match.

Later on London Road, here’s what actually happened.

Following the result, a crowd of around 100-200 United fans spilled out on to the street outside the Clubhouse pub, temporarily halting traffic but the atmosphere generally good-natured with fans drinking and singing outside the pub.

Many fans moved off the road when asked by other supporters, (such as me,) in order to let cars through.

However, more continued to spill on to the road and at this point a couple of police officers could have turned up to ask the fans to disperse on to the pavements.

That would have been a measured response to the obvious issue of the road being blocked.

However, SYP responded to the minor situation by turning up with 12 riot vans and an army of police dogs, proceeding to kettle the relatively small group of fans and only letting them out one-by-one.

Remember, at this point there had been absolutely no dialogue from the police - they simply waded straight in with what I would estimate were 100 police officers, 12 riot vans and five police dogs to deal with a boisterous but non-threatening group of 100-200 supporters.

SYP could have walked over and tried to ask the supporters to clear the road, as I and fellow supporters had done earlier with some success, but instead created an ‘us vs them’ mentality, their attitude totally exacerbating what was actually a peaceful situation.

Their stance caused far more problems than it solved - the only time the volume increased and things were thrown was when they started moving in to the crowd to kettle us.

Their behaviour should not be allowed to be deemed a ‘success’ by their head of operations when there were hundreds of fans trapped on a sweltering hot tram, hundreds more crushed outside of the turnstiles and another group unnecessarily kettled by 12 riot vans and police dogs after causing absolutely no trouble whatsoever.

It is unacceptable that they would go on local radio and deem a clearly disastrous operation a ‘success’. When I raised my complaints with the officers on the ground they said ‘thanks for the comments’ and swore at me.

Their behaviour on the whole day was utterly disgraceful, showing a contempt for Sheffield football supporters and only intent on criminalising rather than protecting them.

It’s yet another blot on their already chequered record.

Nick

by email

Brook Hill roundabout

Who’s bright idea was it to put two light controlled pedestrian crossings outside Sheffield university within 100 metres of each other?

As if the congestion on Brook Hill roundabout wasn’t bad enough!

The traffic planners of Sheffield have a lot to answer for.

Stephen Whittaker

by email

Cat among the pigeons

Let’s hope Sheffield Council which has to save more than £21million doesn’t include the top brass such as chief executive John Mothersole’s generous salary.

Now that would put the cat among the pigeons.

EB Warris

by email

Plucking numbers

A reply for Susan Richardson’s question: ‘ How does Sheffield Council get its figures?’

Well the answer is they have a bingo machine and the first six or seven numbers out are the ones they use.

This is for everything they require to do with money.

PH Siddall

Brinsworth

September 2-4 triumph

Congratulations to all at Bramall Lane for the recent stunning win at Hillsborough.

Our September 2-4 triumph more than made up for defeat there in December 1979.

That, after all, was a pub league fixture.

Irving Smith

by email

Owls loss to United

Re: the Owls loss to United. I don’t think head coach Carlos Carvalhal should take the blame for the Owls’ defeat.

The Blades won, one of them had to win!

We have two great football teams in Sheffield and Carlos wants to be proud he is head coach for one of them. I myself don’t go to football matches, but realise what good teams we have got.

B Wilkinson

S10