WEST Midlands Police have said that four men have been arrested as part of the safety and security operation for the Birmingham derby today (Sunday 25 November).
Police say that small pockets of violence were reported before and after the match between Aston Villa and Birmingham City, but that officers were quick to restore calm.
Worryingly, items were thrown inside Villa Park during the game and a woman was assaulted after being sexually touched as she left the ground.
West Midlands Police say that active investigations are underway into the crimes which led to the arrests.
Unfortunately, this event and the predicted incidents took dozens of officers off their usual front-line duties or away from their days off to police.
Superintendent Phil Dolby, responsible for policing the fixture, said: “Fortunately, the four men arrested don’t represent the majority of fans who enjoyed a great game in the way you’d expect.
“There was a large operation in place for the match which involved us working closely with both clubs and their respective supporter associations as well as the council, Transport for the West Midlands, fire service, ambulance, British Transport Police, Staffordshire Police and others.
“Our officers will remain in the area and city centre in the hours after the game to keep everyone safe.
“The operation was overseen by members of our independent advisory group – a panel of football supporters from across the region who ensure we’re acting fairly and proportionately with fans in the forefront of our minds.”
A 25-year-old from Birmingham arrested on suspicion of affray and possession of class A drugs following reports of a fight just outside the stadium.
A 22-year-old from Bristol arrested on suspicion of using a flare inside the stadium.
A 42-year-old from Birmingham arrested on suspicion of sexual assault after a woman was touched as she left the stadium.
A 19-year-old from Birmingham arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs inside the stadium.
“I’d like to thank the many officers who gave up their day off to police this fixture. The game was just one of many major events taking place across the region which we had to manage along with frontline policing,” said Supt Dolby.
Anyone with information about those responsible for football-related crimes should call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You may be entitled to a reward.