Sunderland and Newcastle fans praised by police

Northumbria Police are praising football fans after the Tyne-Wear derby finished with just ten arrests out of a 50,000-people crowd today.

The arrests made throughout the day were mainly due to public order offences – three of which had been planned – the police said.

Despite the smoke grenades thrown to them before the match, Operations Commander Chief Superintendent Steve Neill said: “The vast majority of fans were well-behaved today, and the Tyne-Wear derby was celebrated for the fantastic sporting event that it is.

“I’d like to praise supporters from both clubs as they worked well with officers on the ground, were extremely patient, good natured and treated the day in the best spirit.

“The few people who chose to pose a threat to public safety were dealt with swiftly by police.”

The police are looking into the incidents of the thrown smoke grenades prior to the game.

Pyrotechnics were also thrown after the game at St James’ Park, but no one was injured.

Sunderland AFC supporters were held for 15 minutes at the stadium after the Red Army beat Newcastle for third time in a row, as the two sets of fans had been kept apart.

Some of them were escorted from St James’ to the Newcastle Central station, where they got on the Metro and trains back to Sunderland.

The rest arrived to the Stadium of Light by the free buses organised by Sunderland AFC, which had transported about 800 fans to Newcastle before the match.

Chief Supt Neill also said that ‘the holdback went very smoothly and supporters worked really well with police and stewards’.

After Sunderland fans left the city, there was an isolated incident in the Bigg Market, involving a small group of youths, which officers handled.

However, it is not believed that those involved had been at the match, or were connected to the match in any way, said the police.

There was a large police presence across Newcastle and Sunderland with the British Transport Police and officers having helped to get more than 1,500 people on to special Metro and rail services in Sunderland before the game.


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