Football hooligan culture still alive at Lincoln City according to police intelligence officer
Hooligans are continuing to ruin football matches for ordinary fans according to the man in charge of policing matchdays at Lincoln City.
Football intelligence officer Andy Pearson believes the disorder at the Imps' vital Blue Square Bet Premier game at Nuneaton shows that the hooligan culture has not disappeared.
A total of 87 people were arrested before, during and after the game on suspicion of violent disorder.
It is believed that none of those arrested were Lincoln City supporters.
But PC Pearson says that there being a risk group of about 150 Lincoln hooligans at the game shows there is still a problem.
“This fixture was probably the busiest and most challenging game to police in the entire country yesterday,” he said.
“There is quite a bit of disorder in the lower leagues and since Lincoln were relegated from the football league we have had more trouble.
“This incident yesterday shows quite clearly that there is still a strong hooligan element in football and at Lincoln City.
“It has not gone away but we at Lincolnshire Police will remain proactive and monitor the situation closely.”
Trouble broke out shortly before 10.30am in a number of licensed premises in the town.
Officers from Warwickshire, West Mercia, West Midlands and the British Transport police were deployed as incidents were reported for the next five hours.
Arrests were made from 3.20pm at the Granby pub in the town centre with all suspects arrested on suspicion of violent disorder.
They were subsequently transported into custody by coach.
It is believed there was a risk group of between 90 and 100 Nuneaton supporters on the day.
“Historically this fixture was always going to be potentially volatile,” added PC Pearson.
“It was the first time the two teams had played each other on a Saturday for a number of seasons and it was an important match with two large groups of risk supporters.
“There was lots of intelligence shared between us and Warwickshire Police and the match commander made the decision to contain the pub in Nuneaton where most of the arrests were made.
“If the same fixture is played on a Saturday next season, it will be policed on its merits depending on the intelligence we receive.
“If it is a game of significant risk we will police it as such.”
Chief Inspector Adrian Knight, who was in charge of the policing operation, said: "Police officers responded to reports of disorder at a number of public houses in the town, and were deployed in full protective equipment for their own safety.
"PSUs [Police Support Units] from three forces - Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands - were all deployed and were successful in containing the disorder and protecting the safety and well being of the general public.
"This operation was a true collaboration utilising resources from across the region.”