Tuesday 15th November was our third week of our Young Reporters programme and this week was a new experience for not only the students but also Mrs. Anderson. Joining us this week were PC Karen and PCSO Lynsey. Tonight we were going to get an insight into match day security and what happens to those fans who make the wrong choices.
We walked over to the South Stand ready for our briefing. Here PC Karen talked us through the number of Police involved inside the stadium on a match day. It consists of three groups of six officers each with one sergeant attached to them – twenty-one police to thousands of (mainly) away fans but also protecting the home fans. They then explained that outside the stadium there would be support units which consist of Riot Police, Police Dogs and even sometimes the Police Horses! The Police are joined every match by hundreds of stewards who support the Police in keeping both home and away fans safe.
PC Karen then told us what people could get arrested for during a football match. This could be anything from swearing at fans, players or stewards, fighting or even going on the pitch! She explained to us that if you are arrested you get taken to the mini station, which is under the South Stand, get questioned, eventually get taken to Clough Road Police Station and then you will appear in court the following day. If when you go to court, you are found guilty, you instantly receive a LIFETIME BAN from ALL football matches, in England and abroad! In fact, if England are playing abroad you even have to give your passport over to the Police until the match has finished!
After this, we made our way deep under the South Stand and had a look inside the mini station. We were taken into the Custody Room and were told that offenders would be questioned, asked about their offence and if need be would be retained in custody. If they were put into custody, they were taken to the relevant cell – yes the KCOM really does have its own Police Cells! These rooms were dull, cold and very uncomfortable. They were quiet this evening but imagine on a match day being stuck under a stand, in a cold, dull prison cell and all you can hear above you are the chants, cheers and cries of thousands of football fans…not the best way to experience your last football match is it?
We then went back into the custody room where the students were given the chance to question the ladies. These ranged from “What is your favourite film?”, “What is the best part of your job?” to “If you were an animal what would you be and why?” The responses included a Police Dog, helping people and Top Gun but I will let you decide which answer responds to which question…
Another fantastic week had by the students and staff and a brilliant experience to see what happens to those football fans who sometimes get it wrong.