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A meeting with the Met

Filed: Wednesday, 24th August 2016
By: Amanda Jacks

Having followed events online, in particular a 30-minute Periscope film taken immediately outside the Boleyn, including capturing the arrival of the MUFC team bus, it was clear that a dangerous situation had built up over the afternoon and into the early evening.

While being caught up in the crush was obviously an unpleasant experience for many, thankfully nobody sustained any injuries. Nonetheless, it seemed that there were questions to answer about the crowd management, or rather lack of it, at the momentous last game at the Boleyn.

So I contacted the football unit at the Met Police, with whom I have a good working relationship with, and they kindly agreed to convene a meeting with the Chair of Newham's Safety Advisory Group and Ron Pearce, the then Safety Officer.

All parties were clear that this wasn't to be a blame game or exercise in finger-pointing, rather an opportunity to discuss events of 10 May. Thankfully there was no suggestion of "what's the point, it was the last game" and further, it was felt that (not that this will trouble many West Ham fans!) learnings could inform planning when Spurs and Chelsea play their own last games at their current stadiums.

Suffice to say a full, frank and amicable discussion was had with no avoidance from the key points that the flow of supporters onto Green Street could and should have been managed so as to avoid the crushing. There was no shrugging of shoulders or events being chalked up as "just one of those things".

Chief Supt Colin Morgan asked some key and probing questions of both his colleagues and Newham Council and my concerns around the pre-planning concentrating on avoiding public disorder at the expense of public safety were taken seriously and addressed.

I'm very happy with the public report and conclusions, not least a commitment of more meaningful dialogue with supporters from Newham Council and the Met being prepared to, arguably, put their heads above the parapet and publicly say intelligence taken from forums is properly evaluated and not taken at face value. For that I think they deserve full credit.

Finally, and digressing slightly, I can't have been the only one disappointed with the media narrative that developed around events pre-game. I don't for one second condone the behaviour of those who threw missiles at the MUFC team coach but the suggestion that the kick off was delayed because of that and not despite it while failing to report the wider context was disappointing, to say the least.

Click here to view the report

* Amanda Jacks is a Case Worker for the FSF who deals with all things policing and stewarding. She is also able to help and advise supporters who have cause to complain about either and is able to refer supporters for initial free of charge legal advice in the event of serious matters or if they've been arrested or charged with a football related offence. You may contact Amanda on 07703 519555.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by Mick
12:14PM 28th Jul 2009
''Nice to read a bit of positivity instead of all the doom and gloom merchants, well done!


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