The Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust today attended a meeting with Hampshire Police, along with other supporters groups from both Pompey and Southampton and the SLOs of both clubs, to discuss the policing operation for this month’s south coast derby. The PST were represented by Simon Colebrook, Donald Vass and Sam Piggott.
The decision to allow away fans unrestricted travel to the game - in contrast with previous “bubble” fixtures in the 2010/11 season - was made partly in consideration for the local community who would be severely disrupted on a weekday evening. The short lead in time to this cup fixture, compared to League games which can be planned months in advance, was also a factor.
Away fans will be offered coach travel which will arrive in a “sterile corridor” near the away entrance, and police expect significant numbers to opt for this method of travel. This will in effect mirror the 2011 operation, while giving other fans the freedom to travel in other ways should they choose to.
There will be a significant policing operation all over the city, not just near the stadium. Police will also be active on the train network, including some locations west of Southampton and east of Portsmouth.
For away fans opting to travel by train, there will not be any ‘football special’ trains laid on as there will also be many commuters travelling around the same time. Away fans will be advised not to drink in Portsmouth, and there will be no “away designated” pubs.
During the game, police will advise that the new rule instructing players to leave the pitch by their nearest touch line should be relaxed. A decision on whether or not to hold away fans back after the game, allowing home fans to dissipate, will be taken nearer to the fixture.