Police confirm 20 arrests during derby day as they praise fans for good behaviour

Today's Tyne-Wear derby police operation saw 20 people arrested as officers declare the event "passionate but peaceful."

Sunday, 20th March 2016, 4:38 pm
Updated Sunday, 20th March 2016, 5:31 pm
Fans outside St James's Park today.

More than 50,000 fans packed St James' Park for the 1.30pm kick-off, with just under 3,000 of those travelling from Sunderland.

Out of that crowd there have only been 20 arrests - 19 men and one woman - for offences including drunk and disorderly, breach of the peace, throwing missiles, encroaching on a football pitch, being drunk in a football ground, assault, obstructing police and other public order offences.

Four of those arrests were inside St James's Park while the other 16 occurred outside the stadium.

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Northumbria Police say significant planning went into managing the spectators, with the force working closely with both football clubs, councils, the British Transport Police, Nexus, Tyne and Wear Metro, Northern Rail, NEAS and NHS England.

Chief Superintendent Steve Neill said the partnership approach had led to a successful multi-agency operation and he also praised fans of both clubs for working with the force throughout the day.

He said: "I want to praise football fans who attended the Tyne-Wear derby today and behaved impeccably at what was a very tense occasion.

"We understand how important this fixture is to the people of this region and we recognised our policing plan needed to reflect that.

"That plan saw us work closely with partners and I want to thank them personally for all their efforts in making this operation such a success.

"There was a highly visible policing presence in the city which enabled us to minimise the impact on visitors to the city keeping match-related disruption to a minimum.

"But both sets of fans showed that they can enjoy the passion of this game without the poison that has blighted some of the past meetings between our two clubs.

"Although arrests don't dictate the success of our policing operation, it is testament to fans that only 20 people out of a crowd of 52,000 were arrested by our officers.

"There is a lot of attention on this fixture and we want to thank the footballing community for working with us to make it a derby we can all be proud of."

Anyone who was at game and wishes to report an incident to the police then contact Northumbria Police by calling 101.