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Police stay quiet on crucial police report publication

A fans’ march in Huddersfield on matchday

West Yorkshire Police has so far refused to publish a report showing how senior officers handled a controversial match.

In the run up to a Championship match between Huddersfield and Hull City on March 30, WYP chiefs judged the game to be of the highest possible risk.

They restricted the away allocation to 1,500 tickets and ordered all visiting fans to collect tickets on matchday in Hull.

Police later watered down the measures after coming under fire from both clubs and hundreds of fans – who staged a matchday protest march.

Reds Away, which helped fans’ groups from both clubs with their joint campaign on the issue, uncovered internal police documents which showed a sketchy police approach to the game.

Mistakes include police chiefs

- categorising the match based on a generic and ambigious document called ‘Hull threat’
- failing to get legal advice before categorising the match
- giving contradictory figures for how much the policing operation would cost
- telling Huddersfield officials there was no room for compromise – knowing the club could be deducted points if they did not sing to the police’s tune
- instructing other officers to search youTube for clips of Hull fans misbehaving so they could justify the high categorisation
- allowing officers to trawl Facebook to gather names, profile pictures and comments of fans who had criticised police
- suggesting people out shopping in Huddersfield town centre would not be safe if Hull fans were allowed there

And when WYP did get legal advice, they were told it could be judged to be unfair to treat Hull fans tougher than they treated Leeds fans, who had misbehaved more in terms of ejections, arrests and banning orders.

After WYP’s police crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson saw the documents uncovered by Reds Away, he ordered WYP to carry out an internal review of how the match was assessed.

That was in July and, since, neither Mr Burns-Williamson’s officer or WYP has given an update on how the review is going.

When asked by Reds Away this week, a WYP spokesman said: “The operational peer review has been concluded and provided to WYP.

“The Deputy Chief Constable, Jaqaid Akhtar, is reviewing the recommendations and will be liaising with….colleagues (responsible) for policing matches.”

The spokesman added that efforts would be made to ensure the recommendations become part of the standard procedure for future games.

“(Mr Burns-Williamson) has been informed that the review has been completed and (the recommendations) worked through. Once this has been undertaken, it will be discussed with Mr Burns-Williamson,” the spokesman added.

Reds Away asked WYP on Tuesday if it planned to publish the report and has yet to receive an answer.

Reds Away editor Dale Haslam said: “This review would probably never have happened had fans themselves done the leg work to hold police to account – yet police appear to not want to tell fans what lessons they have learned.

“Not only would not publishing this report dissaude fans from raising public-interest issues in future, but WYP will be missing a golden opportunity to demonstrate to fans that it has learned from its mistakes and, in future, it will try to do better.”

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5 comments to Police stay quiet on crucial police report publication

  • John

    Good work as ever guys, keep it up!

  • Higgo

    Yorkshire Police treating supporters like criminals, what a surprise.

  • nick

    How the fuck could the wyp police get huddersfield points deducted

  • vitty

    Nick – as you probably know, Sky paid the Championship team a set fee at the start of the season.

    Part of the deal is that those clubs change their fixture time and date when Sky want to. (In effect, the payment is compensation for the team missing out on ticket revenue for anti-social kick off times).

    Sky had already asked Huddersfield if they would kick matches off at 5.20pm that season and Huddersfield had to say no because of similar police concerns.

    So the third time, Sky said ‘look, Huddersfield, do what we ask or we will report you to the FA’.

    And the FA had the option of docking them points or fining them.

    Both these options were referred to in internal police emails when they were discussing whether to cut Huddersfield some slack.

    Effectively one officer said to another that Huddersfield had to do what the police wanted else they would suffer a punishment – one of which could be a points deduction.

  • Higgo

    So technically Sky run the show. Jesus, what is footy turning in to?