Police thank derby day fans for avoiding trouble

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POLICE have praised football fans for their behaviour on derby day.

About 250 officers were drafted in for the mammoth policing operation surrounding Pompey’s clash against Saints at Fratton Park this afternoon.

Hampshire Constabulary called on mounted officers from Thames Valley, the force’s dog unit to help police the match.

The force also took drastic steps including the controversial coach convoy to transport Saints supporters and put up metal barriers at five key points around Fratton Park in a bid to prevent clashes between rival fans.

And their efforts paid off as Operation Delphin ran smoothly.

So far just one person has been charged on connection with the match.

Ian Mitchell, 26, of Alder Road, Southampton, was arrested outside the turnstiles before kick-off and is charged with possessing a firework while entering a sporting event.

He has been bailed until later this month.

A second man has also been arrested on suspicion of possessing a flare.

Superintendent Rick Burrows, who led Operation Delphin, said: ‘I would like to say a big thank you to the fans on behalf of the police. We look forward to the return fixture.

‘It’s nice to have a derby fixture that hasn’t had the levels of violence we have seen historically.’

Less than half-an-hour after the final whistle blew in the 1-1 draw, Saints fans were back on their coaches in Rodney Road and heading out of Portsmouth in their police-led convoy.

All roads surrounding the ground are open and traffic is flowing.