Blackpool FC releases statement after policing of club's home matches is discussed at fans' forum
Blackpool FC have released a statement after a fans’ forum was held last week to discuss the policing of the club’s home matches this season.
The Gazette recently revealed the policing of Blackpool’s home matches was being reviewed as a “matter of urgency”.Concerns have been raised by supporters throughout the season regarding how they have been treated as they have left Bloomfield Road.
The problem reared its head again during Blackpool’s recent game against QPR, with reports of overcrowding after the full-time whistle.
Groups of fans, which included families and young children, also reported being ‘kettled’ while being barked at by police dogs situated in the back of cars.
It comes after the policing of the recent derby match between Blackpool and Preston North End was branded as “shambolic”.
Lancashire Police, in a statement issued to The Gazette, has admitted the policing of Blackpool games this season has been challenging.
Police recently attended a fans’ forum which also included representatives from the club and the various supporter groups.
“Blackpool Football Club met with Lancashire Police and supporters' groups in a fans' forum last week to discuss the ongoing concerns regarding policing at recent home matches,” the club said in a statement.
“Twenty delegates from supporters' groups attended, along with Blackpool CEO Ben Mansford, director Brett Gerrity and the club’s ground safety officer, Steve Needham.
“Despite the overall success with the management of matchday strategies, issues still remain with the dispersal of both home and away supporters out of Bloomfield Road.
“Lancashire Police, represented by chief inspector Dave Hannan, explained why various different exit strategies had been used during recent matches, in an effort to find the most practical solution and gave reasons why some of the police tactics had encountered problems.
“They acknowledged that mistakes had been made and the routing of home and away supporters together out onto Bloomfield Road was not the best solution.
“As a consequence of the meeting, Lancashire Police and the club have agreed that going forward, away supporters will exit the East Stand via the North East corner and will be routed left onto Central Drive.
“The Field Street gate to the north will remain closed until all fans have dispersed. This will come into effect from tonight’s game against West Bromwich Albion.
“The club recognises this will cause inconvenience to some but will benefit the majority of fans in their peaceful exit from the stadium.
“A follow-up ‘fans forum’ will be held in a few weeks’ time to assess what progress is being made and what changes, if any, are required.”
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