Police reveal plans for Pompey v Saints clash

Hampshire Constabulary cars, vans and bikes, lined up and ready to go from Southampton City College to join the escort for the convoy of coaches from St Mary's to Fratton Park for the derby game last year
Hampshire Constabulary cars, vans and bikes, lined up and ready to go from Southampton City College to join the escort for the convoy of coaches from St Mary's to Fratton Park for the derby game last year

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ABOUT 300 officers will be charged with policing Pompey’s crunch away derby clash against arch rivals Saints.

Hampshire Constabulary are in the final stages of planning for Operation Delphin 2 at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton on April 7.

As reported in The News up to 3,160 Pompey fans will have to travel to the ground in a convoy 40 coaches.

Pompey fans must book their places on coaches travelling from Fratton Park and Lakeside North Harbour by a week on Monday or they will not be allowed to attend.

The controversial ‘coach bubble’ will be escorted in two convoys to the ground ahead of the 1pm kick off.

The force’s air support unit will monitor the convoy and police will be stationed on bridges above the M27.

The dog unit, mounted police and officers on motorbikes are also being drafted in.

Pompey fans will not be given their tickets until they are on the coaches and are en route to Southampton.

On their arrival the convoys will be taken to a ‘safe’ area in Britannia Road outside St Mary’s Stadium, which will be surrounded by metal barriers and heavily policed in a bid to stop rival fans from meeting.

Pompey fans will not be able to drink on coaches travelling to and from the ground as it is against the law. Bars inside the stadium will be open as normal.

Superintendent Rick Burrows said: ‘The emphasis will be on ourselves and the club working together really hard to make sure the Southampton vs Portsmouth derby is again a safe and enjoyable football event.

‘We have the tactical capability to deal robustly with that small minority who seek to engage in disorder.

‘We all recognise the criticality of this fixture for both clubs and how that might heighten passions, but the policing response will be consistent and proportionate to maintain a safe operation.’