First SPL Matches In Scotland Held Without Policing Presence

Friday, 14 October, 2011

A Grampian Police pilot scheme which has seen Premier League matches go ahead without a police presence for the first time in Scotland has been hailed a success by senior officers.

Aberdeen Division Commander Chief Superintendent Adrian Watson confirmed that an initial trial of three games at Pittodrie had passed without any significant incident, paving the way for further matches without police involvement inside the stadium.

Dons matches on a Friday night could also become a regular fixture after the force confirmed the pilot game, Aberdeen's match against Dunfermline held on September 30, had passed without any public order issues at the stadium and that it had not placed any unnecessary pressure on police resources in the city centre. The match was the first time a Friday Evening SPL kick off had been given the go ahead in Scotland.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's Aberdeen and Dundee United match, which will go ahead with 50% fewer officer than last season, Mr Watson said: "We are delighted by how successful the trials of police free and Friday evening matches have been thus far.

"We are very proud of our relationship with Aberdeen Football Club, in the way we have worked with them, the supporters and a host of other partners in order to make the SPL match day experience at Pittodrie one of the safest in the country.

"These changes have required a truly innovative approach on all sides but much of the credit has to go to the club themselves as well as the supporters who have acted so responsibly, allowing us to free up more officers to police our communities where it matters."

"We were particularly impressed by the positive atmosphere both inside the stadium and in the city centre before and after the Dunfermline game which passed without any issues."

"It is important to stress however that we will not compromise on safety and each game is the subject of a rigorous risk assessment by our officers. This takes into account all potential safety and public order issues including, for example, the fixtures history, current intelligence as well as feedback from the clubs involved and other police forces."

"We are acutely aware of the importance of the club to the city and the north-east of Scotland and we will continue to do all we can to support it."

John Morgan, Operations Manager for Aberdeen FC, said: "We fully support these initiatives and have an agreement in place with Grampian Police that ensures safety at Pittodrie remains paramount and intelligence led. We are confident in the capabilities of the staff and stewards at Pittodrie and we will continue will continue to work in partnership with Grampian Police to build on the intial success."

The three matches which have taken place at Pittodrie without any police involvement inside the stadium are:

Tuesday 10 May 2011 - Aberdeen vs. St Mirren

Tuesday 19 July 2011 - Aberdeen vs. Villarreal

Saturday 17 September 2011 - Aberdeen vs. Kilmarnock

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