Hampshire police use fresh tactics to prevent Fratton Park derby day trouble

PREPARED Riot police stand along the Milton End goal line during the south coast derby in 2004
PREPARED Riot police stand along the Milton End goal line during the south coast derby in 2004
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FANS of Pompey’s arch rivals Saints must travel to the city by coach on derby day – or they will not be allowed in to Fratton Park.

Each of the 3,200 away fans allocated tickets for the crunch Pompey v Southampton clash must also pay for coach travel.

Saints fans can swap vouchers for their match tickets on arrival at Fratton Park by coach in areas designated by police.

They will be unable to drink alcohol inside the ground as there are no bars selling booze in the away end. It is also against the law to drink alcohol on the coaches. Meanwhile bars in the home end and across the city will open to Pompey fans.

Police are taking tough measures to quell any potential for trouble after violence flared at the last derby at St Mary’s stadium in Southampton in February last year.

It will be the first time this policing tactic has been used in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight for a football match.

If the steps are a success they could be repeated when Pompey play Saints in Southampton next April.

Superintendent Rick Burrows is leading the planning for the policing operation on December 18.

He said: ‘The most important objective of the day is to ensure that it is a safe environment for everybody coming to the football.

‘There is a history of trouble caused by a small minority at previous derby matches and balancing up the interests of everybody involved, this unusual tactic is the best one to ensure it is a safe event.

‘Although this tactic hasn’t been used in Hampshire before, it has been proven to be successful in other forces for matches such as Cardiff v Swansea and the West Midlands derby matches.

‘It would be great to have free access for all fans, but the reality is actions of the minority can disproportionately impact on the enjoyment of others.

‘We have to minimise their opportunities to do so.’

Coaches will collect Saints fans from three pick-up points – Winchester, St Mary’s stadium in Southampton and Bursledon. They will be escorted to Portsmouth by police including the force helicopter.

Mounted police from Thames Valley and dog units are being drafted in for the policing operation.

Barriers and a strong police presence will be used to help keep fans apart on match day.

Police say roads surrounding Fratton Park including Rodney Road, Anson Road and the north end of Alverstone Rd will be closed to traffic from about 10.30am on match day. Specks Lane will be shut and Vernon Avenue and Alverstone Road will be closed to non-residents.

Local fans are advised to set off early for the 1pm kick-off.

Derek Stone, operations manager at Portsmouth Football Club, said: ‘This is the third local derby this season. The other two have been trouble-free.

‘We just want people to come along, enjoy the game safely and go home safely – that’s what it’s all about.’

There were five arrests at the last derby played in Portsmouth in April 2005 when Pompey defeated their south coast rivals 4-1.

Nearly 100 fans were held after going on a drunken wrecking spree following their side’s 1-0 Premier League win over Saints in March 2004.