Ipswich: Norwich City to complain about treatment of fans at derby game

POLICE in Suffolk last night defended the way they handled the derby match between Ipswich Town and Norwich City after it emerged the Norfolk club was launching a formal complaint over the treatment of its fans.

Norwich City chief executive David McNally said he would make official representations to the force following complaints from supporters’ groups.

Speaking on social networking website Twitter, he said: “Really disappointed with the police treatment of our fans on Thursday night. We will be lodging an official complaint.”

The response comes after the Norwich City Independent Supporters Association (NCISA) wrote requesting that the club support complaints to the police following what some perceived as unfair and potentially dangerous treatment before and after the match at Portman Road on Thursday.

There were reports of trouble after City fans were delayed from getting into the ground by Ipswich fans blocking their way in. Norwich won the match 5-1.

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Last night NCISA spokesman Rob Sainty said the association was grateful for the club’s support and praised Mr McNally’s intervention.

After the match Insp Matthew Rose, from Suffolk police, said that despite making 19 arrests, the operation to police disorder had been an “absolute success”.

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Mr Sainty praised Ipswich stewards saying they had been “excellent” but claimed: “Our fans deserve huge credit for their patience and forbearance, but this could easily have been a disaster.”

He added: “I am very pleased that the club has decided to intervene in this way and hope Suffolk police take the complaint seriously.

“We have received a number of submissions regarding the police operation on Thursday from both City and Ipswich supporters.

“I’m not ashamed to say that, for the first time in 20 years I felt vulnerable at a football match.”

But a Suffolk police spokesman said: “We have yet to receive any formal correspondence regarding the handling of our policing operation of the match. We believe our plans worked well, especially when the public transport delays which did lead to the flare-ups are taken into consideration.

“There were isolated incidents of disorder, mainly caused by the Ipswich fans, and naturally we will focus on these to ensure disruption of a similar nature does not occur on future match days. As ever, we will respond to those who wish to submit any formal comments or complaints about our actions.”

Seven men have been charged with threatening behaviour after being arrested at the match.

The individuals – all from Ipswich – were taken into custody by police monitoring proceedings at Portman Road and seven of them will appear at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court in Ipswich on May 4 and 9. They are aged from 18 to 49.

In addition to these charges, a 24-year-old has been released on bail while police make further investigations and a 29-year-old has been cautioned. Both men are from Ipswich. One man from Norwich was also charged with possession of class A drugs after being arrested at the match. The 32-year-old was also held at Ipswich Police Station.

As well as making 19 arrests, police were forced to eject 13 supporters from the stadium.

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