Bristol: Police Raids Target Football Fans
2 July 2014, 08:51
Police have made dawn visits to more than a dozen people in relation to disorder during the end-of-season game between Bristol Rovers and Mansfield Town.
The match on May 3 saw victory for the East Midlands team, resulting in Rovers being relegated from the Football League for the first time in their history.
The game was overshadowed by a post-match pitch invasion, as well as small pockets of disorder before the game, when a police horse was punched.
When the final whistle went, with emotions running high, some people went on to the pitch to vent their frustration and a minority were intent of causing significant violence, directing their anger at police officers and club stewards.
No Mansfield Town supporters were involved in the disorder, who were praised by stewards for their good behaviour.
Mounted officers helped club stewards clear the pitch and then disperse the crowd safely. Six arrests were made on the day.
Since the game police have been working with the two clubs scrutinising CCTV coverage, photographs and images tweeted of those involved in the trouble on the day. They published photographs of more than 20 people they wanted to speak to.
As a result a further nine people were arrested. A further six people have since agreed to voluntarily attend police stations next week.
Those detained by police have been arrested for violent disorder, ABH, affray, common assault and public order offences.
Today's early morning operation, which was spearheaded by the force's support groups, assisted by district colleagues, involved early-morning arrest warrants being executed at properties in Bristol and South Gloucestershire to detain those Bristol Rovers fans who had not contacted them.
Ten men were arrested and two others have agreed to attend police stations voluntarily this morning.
DI Paul Hunt, who is leading the football operation said: ''Today's operation will again send out a strong message to a small minority intent on causing problems at football games. You might think you are anonymous in the crowd and no-one can see your anti social behaviour and actions but they are wrong. We now have troublemakers in our cells who had the same thought.
''We are showing the red card to those intent on causing football disorder and violence in Avon and Somerset and will now put these people before the courts. Successful convictions should result in football banning orders which will mean they will no longer be able to attend games or follow their national side abroad.
''There are currently almost 100 football banning orders in force in our force area,'' said DI Hunt.