Special Constabulary thanked for supporting football operation
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Hertfordshire’s Special Constabulary have been thanked for the role they played during the football derby between Watford FC and Luton Town.
The constabulary and Watford FC had worked closely to plan for the fixture, which took place at Vicarage Road on Sunday (23 October), and it passed without major incident.
There was a dedicated operation in place and on the day of the match, there were 19 Special Constables who gave up their spare time to help keep the public safe.
Special Constables are volunteer police officers. They come from all walks of life and give up their spare time for a minimum of 16 hours a month. Highly trained, with full policing powers including the power to arrest, they play an essential role in preventing, reducing and tackling crime. There are currently over 200 volunteers in Hertfordshire’s Special Constabulary.
The day of the match began with a breakfast briefing at 7am, ensuring the Specials and the rest of the officers were fully equipped and prepared for the day’s duties. Thirteen of the Specials were deployed in Watford town centre, keeping rival fans separate in designated pubs and ensuring no disorder took place in the town. The other six Specials were deployed to double crew three prisoner vehicles which were to provide transport for anyone arrested – thankfully no arrests occurred.
There was just one incident of minor disorder when two sets of rival fans met whilst making their way to the ground, but Special Constabulary officers supported by public support unit officers quickly intervened and prevented an escalation. The match ended with a 4-0 win for Watford and the Special Constables were once again deployed to ensure rival fans were kept apart.
All the officers on the operation were supported by the Police Federation welfare vehicle which enabled officers to obtain refreshments and remained available in the town throughout the operation.
Chief Superintendent Nick Caveney, who led the operation, said: “I would like to say a big thank you to the Special Constabulary for their support on Sunday. Passions often run high during derby games and so a lot of planning went into making sure that everything ran smoothly. Being able to rely on the Special Constabulary was a huge help and very much appreciated.”
Special Inspector Kebba Jobe added: “I’d like to extend my thanks to all the Specials from around the county who gave up their Sunday morning and presented themselves for what was an early start and a long day of foot patrol, including four hours in the torrential rain and lightning storms. The support provided was well received by the local senior officers and the event commanders who appreciated the Special Constabulary’s assistance in policing an event which had potential for significant disruption and disorder. It once again showed the value the Special Constabulary adds to policing in Hertfordshire and keeping our communities safe.”