Police praise fans after North-East derby

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Police are praising North-East football fans for making today's Wear-Tyne derby one to be proud of after very few arrests.

In recent years, the behaviour of fans in these games has been exemplary and that continued again today with very few arrests and a small amount of disorder. Before the game, licencees across the force area met with police and voluntarily agreed to not serve alcohol before 9am which helped keep disorder to a minimum.

Match commander, Chief Superintendent Steve Neill, said: "The fans have again shown today why the Wear-Tyne derby is up there with the best in the country. It has been a day filled with passion, but it has lost the poison that has been associated with this game in the past - that is a testament to football fans across the North East.

"The vast majority of fans have behaved impeccably and allowed our officers to police the matchday with a smile on their faces. I would like to acknowledge the work of both football clubs, which have been diligent in their preparation to make this fixture as safe and successful as it has been.

"This was very much a partnership operation and I would also like to extend a big thank you to all those who helped with the planning operation. Our policing operation went well and I would also like to extend a big thank-you to all of the officers involved today who again displayed incredible professionalism on what can be a very tense day."

During the police operation, there were only a small number of isolated incidents with ten arrests for offences including affray, possession of alcohol in a sports ground, being drunk while entering a sports ground, throwing missiles in a sports ground, possession of a firework or flare at a sports event, going into the playing area of a football match, affray and possession of a controlled drug.

Chf Supt Neill added: "Ten arrests out of crowd of nearly 50,000 is extremely low and I'm pleased that the fans who attended today were clearly there to support their team and not interested in causing trouble. I'd like to praise supporters who worked well with officers on the ground and were extremely patient and good natured on what can be a very tense day.

"Public safety is always our number one priority during any football match and the very few people who let themselves down with poor behaviour were dealt with swiftly by police."