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An internal police investigation into Easter’s fixture between Ipswich Town and Norwich City has highlighted areas of improvement for the force.
Suffolk Police received an official complaint from Norwich City and some of their supporters after the event on April 21st and launched a review of its operation after the local derby.
The internal enquiry examined police planning as well as focusing on the way in which travelling supporters were dealt with prior to the kick-off. During the summer, officers from the force’s Professional Standards Department have been liaising with club officials.
The investigation highlighted officer courage and professionalism despite being subjected to danger themselves as well as the absence of any member of the public being injured. However, the force apologises for confusion caused to some Norwich City fans after officers made a genuine mistake of advising them of an apparent delayed kick-off. Suffolk Police also states that it must take its share of responsibility for the congestion on the routes outside the ground.
Officer numbers were stretched during the evening as a result of pockets of disorder around Ipswich, especially on Portman Road where the presence of Ipswich Town fans prohibited approximately 400 away fans from entering the ground in time for kick-off. CCTV coverage showed that many of the fans consisted of families, women and children.
The report’s main recommendation is that a larger number of specially-trained officers should be deployed for future, similar key fixtures in order to prevent congestion of the route to and from Portman Road as well as preventing public disorder.
Suffolk Police did heap praise on the majority of supporters from both clubs who behaved impeccably during the evening and who, under police advice, arrived at the ground in good time for kick-off.
The full police report has been given to Norwich City Football Club.