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More police for Albion vs Palace
Extra police officers have been drafted in to stop the fierce rivalry between Albion and Crystal Palace fans from descending into violence.
Sussex Police will be committing more officers to Sunday’s game in an effort to prevent a repeat of the unsavoury scenes at the last derby at American Express Community Stadium.
Twenty-eight people were arrested as fans clashed at Brighton, Falmer and Lewes stations before and after the game in September 2011, which was policed by 200 officers.
Tensions will be high, as the fixture represents a huge game for both promotion chasing teams.
Police and club officials are urging fans not to get carried away with the occasion. Kick-off has been moved to midday on Sunday, March 17, to reduce problems, with the Amex open from 10am.
Crystal Palace supporters will not be held back in the stadium at the end of the game, but instead a one-way system will be in operation around the ground to keep the two sets of fans apart.
Officers said that the option of keeping fans back was being kept on the table and could change on the day.
A special train direct from Falmer to East Croydon has been organised by British Transport Police and Southern Rail and will leave 45 minutes after the final whistle.
Albion fans are being encouraged to stay in the ground after the game, with the club supplying extra alcohol including Guinness to mark St Patrick’s Day.
Coach companies will also wait behind 30 minutes longer to allow fans to enjoy the post-match hospitality.
Honesty bins will be placed outside the ground to try to persuade fans not to smuggle drink into the ground.
At the last derby game, 11 seats and one toilet bowl in the away end were damaged.
Chief Inspector Paul Betts said: |“It will be the same package we would deliver with any game, but we have to be mindful about the increased rivalry between these clubs and information we have.
“In terms of differences there will be some horses working at the stadium and a generally higher visibility of officers working in the city during the game.”
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