Lancashire Police, Burnley and Blackburn Rovers Football Clubs are urging fans to enjoy this Sunday’s East Lancashire Derby while remaining safe and respectful of other members of the public.
Burnley FC host Blackburn Rovers at Turf Moor (kick-off 12.30pm) in the league for the first time since March 2016. We are also very aware that this is a significant day in the national calendar and many people will be paying their respects at Remembrance Services nationally and across Lancashire.
The operation has been in the planning since the fixture date was first announced and we have been working with both football clubs, the North West Ambulance Service, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, The English Football League, local authorities and the Royal British Legion, as well as other partners including both supporter groups.
To police this fixture, retain our responding and investigative functions and represent the constabulary at a significant number of Remembrance Services across the county, we have cancelled rest days to boost officer and staff numbers.
As has been well publicised, away supporters are free to make their way to the stadium independently and we know that some people are concerned about this. We want to reassure residents and fans that there is a significant police operation taking place across East Lancashire, with specialist officers, police dogs, the mounted section, investigation teams, the police helicopter and drones all in operation.
Whilst we appreciate that passions will be running high as both teams cover the top two places in The Championship we know that the overwhelming majority of people will be going to support their team and will behave in a responsible manner.
The match itself has been chosen by Sky to be televised to showcase this Lancashire Derby. We hope that both sets of supporters are able to enhance the reputations of their respective football clubs.
Sadly, we know that some will let their passion spill over and others may be intent on causing disorder. For those individuals we would want to remind them that our officers will all be wearing body worn video cameras, we have access to the football stadium, town centre and private close circuit television systems and where appropriate these will be reviewed as part of the investigation element of this operation.
So if you are intent on committing offences or your behaviour crosses the threshold in or out of the stadium and you are not dealt with on the day, then our warning is to await the knock on the door from our officers.
We will also work with both football clubs to support evidence to impose bans on those whose behaviour is deemed serious enough to prevent you following your team and attending future fixtures.
ACC Russ Procter, who is Gold Command for the fixture, said: “Whilst we have previously undertaken a bubble coaching operation to and from the fixtures this is something that has been seen as contentious and not universally liked by all. Neither does the coaching operation take away the pre-match and post-match policing operation which is not seen by the vast majority of people attending to support their teams.
“Whilst the operations themselves have always seen a heavy police presence this has not prevented poor behaviour in and around the stadiums and towns which has resulted in arrests. So, whilst sadly I anticipate some attending requiring a policing intervention this cannot then impact on the significant support base who want to attend a local derby to support their club.
“I would again remind people that this fixture is on Remembrance Sunday and that Lancashire Constabulary will not only be policing this, but we will also be attending and supporting remembrance services across the County.”