Police issue derby match message

MORE than 250 officers will be present at Portman Road to crack down on trouble at the East Anglian derby between Ipswich and Norwich on Sunday.

MORE than 250 officers will be present at Portman Road to crack down on trouble at the East Anglian derby between Ipswich and Norwich on Sunday.

Police are appealing to fans to behave responsibly at the match, while blues boss Jim Magilton has called on both sets of supporters to make the day one both football clubs can be proud of.

Those with tickets are also being advised that Portman Road will be closed to home supporters for a short time after the game whilst Norwich fans are held back in the ground before being given an escort from the stadium.

Ahead of Sunday's midday kick-off Detective Superintendent Tim Beach, who will be overseeing the policing operation between Suffolk Constabulary and the British Transport Police, warned they will not tolerate any disturbances between the rival supporters.

“This will be an exciting game for both teams. Last year's game was a great success and a “recipe” in partnership with Ipswich Town Football Club, which will be used again this year.

“We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour, violence, racial chanting, mindless vandalism or any alcohol fuelled disorder. We will replicate the tactics used in escorting visitors to and from Portman Road and will delay visitors leaving the stadium after the final whistle to prevent any disorder.

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“We will continue our use of firm but fair policing to ensure the safety of those attending the game and those members of the public wishing to go about their normal business.”

Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton echoed his words and added: “Derby games are special for players and supporters. Sunday's game should be a cracker so, enjoy it and make it an occasion that both clubs can be proud of.”

The turnstiles and stadium bars will be open from 10.30am on Sunday and local businesses have agreed with the police not to serve alcohol outside the stadium prior to the match.

The public are being asked to be prepared for crowd and traffic congestion and disruption on the day and to avoid the town if not attending the game. Suffolk Constabulary said car sharing and the use of public transport are advisable.

Det Spt Beach added: “We share this day with other high profile sporting events including the 28th London marathon one of the most famous events on Britain's sporting calendar, the last day of the swimming World Championships in Manchester and the final round of the 2008 Masters at the Augusta National. Suffolk police and Ipswich Town Football Club welcome well-behaved fans and I hope this match is remembered for all the right reasons.”

PC Marc Norman, Football Intelligence Officer for Suffolk police, said: “Our message is simple; enjoy the game, stay onside and don't spoil it for others.”

Leaflets will be handed out to Norwich supporters as part of the operation advising them on the plans to keep them in their seats for a short while after the match has finished. Bus and train services are said to have been adjusted with this in mind.

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