Welcome to the first instalment of the new Trust ‘off the pitch’ blog.
We’ve made huge progress in communications with the club and West Yorkshire Police over the last few months and want to give the facts of incidents, their background and any potential future actions which will give fans the chance to have a fuller understanding whilst acting as a source of information as the games and seasons progress.
Working together, as supporters, supporters groups, the club and West Yorkshire Police will, we hope, enable a safer and more pleasurable environment for our fans home and away while simultaneously reducing the cost to the tax-payer and the club in reducing the requirement for excessive amounts of Police and Stewards at games.
The blog will be updated regularly in conjunction with the club, West Yorkshire Police and you! It’s aimed as a ‘review’ of everything ‘off the pitch’, as the title suggests, and will deal with issues arising from our home games and from our travels so input from fans and fans groups is essential to it’s success. So if you have anything which you experience at a game (involving LUFC) home or away we’d like to hear from you so we can include it in our future blogs.
So! We’d like to start with ‘Boro away, last Saturday...
The attendance was 25,531, of which 2,960 were Leeds fans.
There were a total of 3 arrests for the day;
Arrest 1 - Possession of firework inside a sports ground - Away Fan (Public Order Act 1986 - Schedule 1, Part 1, 14(1)) - CCTV identified a male waving a blue flare/smoke bomb in the away end at half-time.
Arrest 2 - Drunk inside a sports ground - Away Fan (Sporting Events Act 1985 2(2))
Arrest 3 – Public order offence outside afterwards adjacent to the away end - Home Fan (Public Order Act 1986 - Section (5))
Before, during and after the game Cleveland Police used PLO's (police liaison officers) who wore light blue tabards. They contacted a number of coach companies prior to the game and told them of the RV and asked what arrangements they had. This appeared to work well and many arrived at the RV point and at the ground on time and without incident. There were plenty of coaches that were spoken to that had made alternative arrangements and it was agreed they didn't need to attend the RV. Other coaches arrived without too many issues.
Although they were asked to attend the RV several coaches didn't set off until 10.00am from the Leeds area. One of the last coaches to arrive did encounter some issues with home fans banging on the side of the coach and goading passengers. This was pointed out by officers on arrival that the organisation of the RV and escort was requested.
However, 2 coaches stopped in Richmond en-route to the game and a number of issues were reported. North Yorkshire police were called by locals to speak to them.
There was a supporter in the home end, ‘Yorkshire Regiment’ stand adjacent to the segregation area, wearing a Galatasary shirt who was recognised by both home stewards, Cleveland Police and pointed out by a number of away fans.
Strictly speaking this was a contravention of the Public Order Act 1986 (Section 5) and officers had the power to make an immediate arrest. However, both stewards and Police gave the fan a chance to change his actions and was warned he would be arrested if he were continue. He was instructed to cover up the shirt, which he did immediately. His details were taken and handed to Middlesbrough FC who, we are informed, will carry out their own investigations and take any actions they deem appropriate, after receiving Police and stewarding reports.
If there is anything you wish to let us know about your experiences travelling to and from the game last Saturday, at the ground, Stewarding, Policing, ticketing, etc. then please let us know by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter - @lufctrust or on our Facebook pages www.facebook.com/lufctrust.
Next ‘off the pitch’
Brighton & Hove Albion (away)
We have had a number of conversations through our social media and directly with PC Darren Balkham, Police Liaison Officer for Brighton and Sussex Police, regarding the game tomorrow night.
He confirmed the following information to us, relevant to travelling fans attending the game;
- The game has been re-categorised by Sussex Police following our last 2 visits to the Amex Stadium. It will be policed but by reduced numbers, compared to previous matches, with only an estimated 60 officers on duty inside and outside the stadium. They have recognised the efforts of Leeds fans in recent seasons, and at other away games this season, and have relaxed a number restrictions which had previously been in place for the game,
- There are no designated pubs in the city for Leeds fans. However a couple around the mainline station have made the decision to accommodate visiting fans (as they do for every game),
- Further information regarding preparations and for the run-up to the game can be received via the Sussex Police Twitter feed @suspolfootball
We’ll be providing more information as soon as possible after the game as quickly as we can and will be giving home fans a preview to any special arrangements previous to the upcoming home match with Watford FC at Elland Road on Saturday 28th February 2015.
Again, if you are travelling to and from the game tomorrow let us know of anything you experience good or bad at the Amex or with Stewarding, Policing, ticketing, etc. by email to email@example.com, twitter - @lufctrust or on our Facebook pages www.facebook.com/lufctrust.
You can also use our ‘Away Days’ section which has details of how the get to the ground by car, train or coach for all our away games.