SUNDAY’S Newcastle-Sunderland derby will still have a ‘significant police presence’, Northumbria Police said today.
The large-scale escort of away fans from Central Station to St James’s Park has been scrapped for the 1.30pm kick-off.
But there will wtill be a significant police presence across the city centre to help make it a ‘city for all’ and a ‘derby to be proud of’.
The Match Commander, Chief Superintendent Steve Neill, is confident anyone visiting the city on Sunday to shop, socialise or enjoy the football, can do so with minimal disruption.
He said: “We are expecting a busy day in the city, but we are confident that our extensive planning and the number of officers we have on duty will help make the day an enjoyable one for everyone.
“As usual, we have been in contact with the fans, the clubs, local businesses and residents to inform them about police activity on the day.
“We have listened to fans, the clubs and to our partners, who agree we need to move away from previous methods of containing supporters and find a more mature solution to policing fans.
“We have more officers out and about than in previous derbies, and there will be a large number stationed along all main routes leading to the stadium to ensure everyone’s safety.
“We have planned ahead and have contingencies to cover any situation that might arise.
“I want to reassure the public that their safety is our priority.
“I would also urge anyone visiting the city to plan their travel in advance and allow enough time, as it will be much busier than a typical derby day.
“We have worked closely with partners, and I’m sure it will be a busy and exciting day for us all.
“We have been working closely with licensed premises across the force, who have all agreed that they will not be serving alcohol before 10am on Sunday.
“We are highly-experienced in policing derbies and large-scale events and we are proud of what we do - we want to make this a derby to be proud of.”