Have the police waved a red flag at a bull? They have released a statement “urging A-League fans attending the Sydney Derby this weekend to focus on football, not on causing trouble.”
Evidence in Melbourne last weekend – where fans lit flares days after the Wanderers were fined and received a suspended sentence for a similar offence – indicates a few rouges are still making life hard for the rest.
NSW Police said 40,000 fans will be at the Wanderers v Sydney FC match at the SFS on Saturday night and they “anticipate the vast majority of fans will enjoy the match in the right spirit, there will be plenty of officers on the ground to deal swiftly with any criminal and anti-social behaviour.”
“Inside and outside the stadium, there will be a highly visible police presence before, during and after the match,” Surry Hills Local Area Commander, Superintendent Tony Crandell, said.
“These officers will be tasked with ensuring the safety and security of officials, players and spectators,” he said.
NSW police said Saturday night’s operation will involve dozens of additional general duties officers from Surry Hills Local Area Command and across the Central Metropolitan Region, along with specialist police units.
“Police and security personnel will be conducting searches of patrons and bags for prohibited items, including flares and other incendiary devices.”
“Anyone caught with these items will be banned from the stadium. They could also be fined $5500 and jailed for up to two years.
“Setting off a flare outside its authorised use attracts even harsher penalties, and we remind people this behaviour is not only illegal, it is highly dangerous.
“A lit flare burns at a temperature hot enough to melt steel; we have already seen a number of instances where patrons and a security officer were burned by flare ignitions. It can also cause crowd panic.
“Police will respond quickly if they see people causing trouble with flares, violence or other behaviour that threatens to ruin the night for anyone else,” Supt Crandell said.
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