West Midlands Police Launch Investigation As Video Shows Clashes With Fans After Birmingham City V Blackpool

An away supporter believes a probe is needed into the conduct of West Midlands Police after fans clashed with cops at a Birmingham City match in November.

Clips posted online showed the chaotic aftermath of a game against Blackpool - with police officers appearing to strike fans with batons.

At the time, West Midlands Police said it would "review its investigation" into the incident but hasn't issued any further updates.

It is now more than a month on since the disorder that reportedly saw flares let off and missiles fly.

READ MORE: West Midlands Police launch investigation as video shows clashes with fans after Birmingham City v Blackpool

The force claimed that as crowds were leaving it received intelligence Blackpool supporters were "seeking a confrontation" with home side fans.

Officers attempted to hold back the away fans on Coventry Road for a "short period" to calm things down, cops said in a statement after trouble flared.

“Our number one priority is always the safety of the fans football matches and a plan was in place to ensure everyone left the stadium safely," they said.

The incident saw fans held back for a 'short time' the force claimed
The incident saw fans held back for a 'short time' the force claimed

Now one fan is leading efforts to hold West Midlands Police accountable for the incident.

Blackpool supporter Gary Trower has lodged a complaint with the force and wants the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), to investigate.

The 46-year-old, who attends every Blackpool home and away game, said he was one of the first at the gate and claimed fans were held for up to 50 minutes.

The football fan has coordinated a social media response, asking fellow supporters to provide him with photographs and footage of the incident.

He said West Midlands Police had responded to the evidence he compiled by blaming Blackpool fans for the outbreak of violence.

"They said they have got video showing that it was us who started it," Gary explained.

"They are basically blaming us. But I know for a fact there have been loads of complaints made to them about the aggression they used towards us.

"What happened at Birmingham was disgraceful. It was absolutely disgusting."

Gary claimed he saw some officers "attacking" teenage fans, with some that were hit left with visible marks that BirminghamLive has seen images of.

"A couple of our boys probably got a bit mouthy, yeah, but they drew their batons and they literally start hitting people," Gary added.

"A 15-year-old got hit from one report that I've received and children were getting separated from their families. I've actually got a picture of the guy that got hit over the head and he's got a massive red mark down his head from where the baton hit him."

Gary added he had been told of a separate incident with Birmingham City the last time they faced Blackpool.

"I wasn't aware of this because I didn't go to the last game," he went on.

"But last time we went to Birmingham City, which I think was quite a few years ago, our fans did cause some trouble. I think they were just out for revenge to be honest.

"One officer in particular was actually taking the baton above his head and he was hitting downwards towards people. It was disgraceful and I have reported to the IOPC."

When a complaint is made however, it is sent to the police force to log, according to the IOPC.

It is then up to the force to decide if it meets the requirements to refer that complaint to the watchdog.

A spokesperson for the IOPC said that it had not received a referral for the incident as of January 6 2022.

In a letter in response to Gary's complaint, West Midlands Police told him no further action would be taken.

"Body worn video shows that there is no evidence to support your allegations that fans were calm and that officers used force for no reason," it read.

"Officers were subjected to significant verbal abuse and threats on their safety whilst on that cordon, including being assaulted and spat on.

"Officers have however allowed families with children and elderly through the cordon safely to try and get them away from the disorder.

"I can assure you that the decision to draw police batons is a decision not taken lightly and this was only done after multiple requests had been ignored and the level of aggression continued to escalate towards the officers on the cordon."

West Midlands Police was contacted for a comment but didn't respond.

Get the latest Birmingham news direct to your inbox through our daily newsletter.

Source : https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/call-probe-disgraceful-clash-between-22673428

978
Call for probe into disgraceful clash between cops and Blackpool fans after Birmingham City match

Source:Birmingham Mail

Call for probe into disgraceful clash between cops and Blackpool fans after Birmingham City match