Random, I email Paddy Tipping last September about the OTT policing at our games.
I finally got a reply 6 weeks later, which I posted on the Gabbitas Gate thread, but here it is again. I thought his reply was mostly crap, so I wrote back with a rebuttal of each of his points. Funnily enough he never replied to that one!
It was good of you to write to me about the policing of Mansfield Town games. Sorry it has taken a little while to respond, but I wanted to ask Nottinghamshire Police for more information before I replied.
I’m sure you will appreciate that every club is different and that the risk presented by each fixture has to be individually assessed, depending on the ground where the match is being played, travel arrangements of supporters, risk numbers and behaviours, overall numbers, the history between clubs and their position in the league, to name but a few factors.
Each season, on release of the fixtures, the club and police work together to provisionally assess the risk of each game and there is a window of opportunity for the club to request amendments to the football league. In relation to Mansfield Town, this occurred this year and a number of high-risk games were identified. An earlier kick-off creates a safer environment for all and represents better value for money than increasing the expense to the club of significantly more stewards and police at the game. Identifying and announcing amendments to the fixtures early is felt to be preferable, as it allows people to make plans; rather than making changes much closer to the fixture, which is more likely to adversely affect fans.
Due to the current make-up of teams in the league there are a number of fixtures this season that have been assessed as requiring policing.
Nottinghamshire Police and local football clubs enjoy a good, professional relationship and work together in order to maximise safety. The availability of alcohol and the length of time it is available to be consumed is strongly linked to the adverse behaviour of some individuals. Therefore, earlier kick-offs which limit the time alcohol can be consumed greatly assist in reducing risk.
I have been advised that keeping fans back at the end of the game was a tactic used some considerable years ago – this is now regarded as being disproportionate in the majority of cases and whilst it is still available as a tactic, there are other less restrictive ways of managing risk.
The decision to accommodate away fans in the North Stand was made by the club a number of years ago. Many away fans travel by train, so if they were in the South Stand, fans would still cross paths. Similarly, some Mansfield fans park to the south of the ground and so again, mixing and cross-over would still occur.
The decision to, on occasion, close the gate at the junction of the North Stand and the Ian Greaves Stand is made for safety reasons and provides a physical barrier to keep the risk of harm to all minimised. I have been assured that the opportunity to re-open the gate is taken as soon as it is felt safe to do so and whilst a small wait is required, this is an alternative to the detour described. Every effort is made by the police and the club to communicate in advance that the gate will be shut at specific fixtures.
You will be pleased to know that there is a fans’ representative on the SAG, allowing the fans’ voice to be heard. I hope this goes some way towards reassuring you that Nottinghamshire Police and the club work closely to ensure that all fans are able to arrive, enjoy the game and go home again as safely and swiftly as possible.
Paddy Tipping Police and Crime Commissioner [/color]
MANSFIELD TOWN FC - SPOILING YOUR WEEKENDS SINCE 1910.