Future of policing Ipswich Town games, including Norwich City, is unresolved
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Suffolk Constabulary has yet to confirm it will have a presence at Ipswich Town games this season - including the potentially powderkeg Old Farm Derby.
With the Norwich match at Portman Road only a month away the future of policing games remains unresolved, just two weeks before the Championship curtain-raiser with Barnsley.
Ipswich Town has said the situation is not linked to its failed High Court battle to claim back £200,000 from the constabulary.
It also pointed out many games no longer have a police presence inside the stadium, as the club’s own security arrangements are deemed sufficient.
However, this has never included an Ipswich v Norwich derby, which is due to be played on Sunday, August 21.
It would also not normally be the case where matches involve a large travelling fan base, or one which has a ‘high-risk’ hooligan element to it.
This season Leeds, Cardiff, Newcastle, and Aston Villa will also be visiting Portman Road.
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A legal battle is continuing after ITFC claimed it was unlawful for Suffolk Constabulary to charge for ordinary policing on the public highway. It also claimed the force was not entitled to charge for the provision of “special police services” on these occasions.
Despite this, two weeks ago Mr Justice Green found in favour of the constabulary’s counter claim of £96,000, owed by the club in unpaid invoices.
The club immediately said it would appeal the decision.
A meeting is due to take place next week as Ipswich Town seeks a safety certificate ahead of its opening game on August 6 against Barnsley.
Asked to confirm or deny whether it will be policing inside and outside the ground this season Suffolk Constabulary would only say: “We are continuing to work with the Safety Advisory Group to provide advice and allow the chair to determine how the club meets it obligation to achieve a Safety Certificate.”
Safety advisory groups consist of representatives from the local authorities, police, fire, and ambulance services, along with other partner agencies.
A spokesman for ITFC said: “In view of the good behaviour record of our supporters at Portman Road over many years and in line with how football in general is looking at stewarding matches, we are in discussion with various groups on what safety and security resources the Club requires on match-day within the confines of the stadium.
“These discussions are on-going and have been for a considerable time.
“We’d also like to reiterate that we continue to have a very good relationship with all the emergency services, including the police.”