Police’s professionalism and relationship with Vale MUST improve

Police’s professionalism and relationship with Vale MUST improve

OVF Editor Rob Fielding argues that the police must learn to work better with the football club.

Rob Fielding writes…

The latest statement from chairman Norman Smurthwaite and a phone call to a prominent Doncaster Rovers fan shows that the police must learn to work better with the club.

In a pointed statement, Smurthwaite thanked senior management of Stoke City Council, the club’s senior safety team and the club secretary. There was no mention of the police.

In a pointed statement, Smurthwaite thanked senior management of Stoke City Council, the club’s senior safety team and the club secretary. There was no mention of the police.

The statement was released after the club’s use of the Co-op car park ended recently. Vale intended to use the Hamil Road car-park for home fans with both sets of supporters using the Vale Social club (formerly Tommy Cheadles). These proposals were rejected by the police who then raised the category of the Doncaster match to “high risk.”

The police also told the club that unless certain measures were put in place then the attendance of the match by supporters could be “restricted.”

The club, the police and Stoke City council then embarked on a series of meetings where a compromise was thrashed out. As a result, Vale have erected a security fence, allowed away fans to use a fence-off part of the Hamil Road car park and made the Vale Social club into an away-only venue for this event.

However, there’s another related matter that is linked to this story. On Doncaster Rovers’ forum Viking Chat, the chairman of the Rovers Supporters Association revealed that he had been phoned by Staffordshire Police to be told that “the Chairman at Port Vale is not allowing us to park the coaches at the ground, also the Social club will not be open for away fans” and that “Staffs police not happy with PVFC.”

Is it the Police’s job to tell Doncaster Rovers’ fans their opinion of Port Vale?

This phone conversation will no doubt raise serious questions. For instance, is it the Police’s job to tell Doncaster Rovers’ fans their opinion of Port Vale? Why tell Doncaster fans of the restrictions when Port Vale and police were in discussions to change them? One certainly hopes that this wasn’t a deliberate tactic to make Norman Smurthwaite and Port Vale FC out as the villains of the piece.

Fans may draw their own conclusions as to why that phone call took place but if the recollections of the Rovers Supporters chairman are correct, then it could be argued that, at the very least, it was unprofessional for the Police to share their personal opinions of Port Vale FC with a third party.

It seems clear that the relationship between the football club and the police is not great. For the good of both parties let’s hope it improves significantly in the future.