Controversial crowd control methods to be used again, police say
Controversial crowd control methods will be used again when Crystal Palace play fierce rivals Brighton this season, police have warned.
Police caused uproar among fans in January after erecting a steel wall at the top of Holmesdale Road, Selhurst, to separate rival sets of supporters following the game.
It meant thousands of supporters were diverted down a different route which severely delayed people’s journey home.
After a meeting with fans and club representatives last week, Croydon’s outgoing Chief Superintendent Adrian Roberts and his successor Ch Supt David Musker, said they would continue to police the game accordingly.
Stephen Browett, co-owner of Crystal Palace FC, said there was a nasty element of fans who go to derby games solely to cause trouble.
"They had 250 police officers on duty for the Brighton game, which is a lot," he said.
"They agreed communications to the fans had been bad but on the other hand they said if you are using certain policing methods after a game, you aren’t going to publicise what you are doing.
"There are a small amount of hooligans who want to get to Brighton fans and if they know what the plans are they can make alternative arrangements to ambush them as soon as possible.
"There used to be serious trouble between Brighton and Palace fans in the past. People would turn up just to cause trouble.
"There is a little element now though, in Croydon and possibly in Brighton, who see this game as an opportunity to be really nasty."
Mr Browett said police uncovered a stash of weapons before the visit of rivals Brighton on 31 January this year which led to a higher police presence.
Croydon Police Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent David Musker, said last season's policing operation for the Brighton match had prevented any serious public disorder before or after the game.
James Daly, editor of the Five Year Plan fanzine, said it was beneficial to have clear-the-air talks with police.
He said: "It was a step forward in the sense that there was an understanding about what the police need to do and what issues we as fans have.”
Crystal Palace have derby games against Brighton, Millwall and Charlton Athletic this season.
The Brighton game takes place on December 1, Millwall is on October 20 and Charlton on February 2.