Euro 2020: Police 'held back' from confronting Wembley intruders at final, officer alleges

22 July 2021, 06:04 | Updated: 22 July 2021, 09:09

Police were "held back" from confronting ticketless intruders before the Euro 2020 final at Wembley, an officer has reportedly alleged.

He said fans were "roaming round in packs" and officers wanted to "chase them off properly as we could see that the stewards didn't care".

But he and his colleagues "weren't allowed" to take the action they thought was appropriate.

Nor were there enough officers along Wembley Way, he said, with only "one line of police holding a sea of people back".

"It looked quite a miserable deployment," he told The Times.

"The best we did was manhandle them down the ramps away from the stadium."

Speaking anonymously, he claimed the alleged reluctance to intervene more robustly was "all about the brand image".

He added: "It is just annoying we are held back from doing our job. We are in public order gear for a reason."

While officers should not be "let off the chain", he said "many of those in charge are hesitant to let us put (helmets) on or get robust with those that need it".

Attempts to enter the stadium continued until the penalty shootout, he said, adding that the stewards were "absolutely useless" and "completely unprofessional".

UEFA is investigating after individuals without tickets breached security at the stadium.

England defender Harry Maguire, whose father suffered suspected broken ribs during the disturbance, said players' friends and family found people already in their seats when they got into the stadium.

The officer said it was "quite clear" some of the stewards were directing intruders, while others stood looking at their phones.

They had "absolutely no interest in doing their job", he alleged, adding: "We were posted at a temporary security wall they put up as people were just pushing through gaps.

"When we arrived all the security (staff) walked off. We did the best we could but it is very frustrating."

It was worrying that officers were not carrying riot shields and were a "five-minute run" from getting them, he said.

Scotland Yard told Sky News it would not be commenting on the story in The Times.

Last week, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors said the Met had "deployed one of the most significant and comprehensive policing plans (it) has ever committed to a football match of this scale".

She added: "Soon into the day it became clear that a high number of fans were arriving without tickets.

"To support the stewarding efforts, further highly trained public order officers were deployed to Wembley Stadium as a precaution.

"I want to praise the quick response by police commanders. I am in no doubt that their swift action prevented any further escalation.

"I do not accept that the policing operation failed and I stand by the difficult decisions made by police officers and the Met's public order commanders."