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Club News

Safety and security update from the Stadium Management Team

9 April 2024

Club News

Safety and security update from the Stadium Management Team

9 April 2024

Recently several stewards have reported that at full time, some supporters wishing to exit the Optimising IT Stand via the Colin Farmer Stand, and vice versa, have become frustrated when asked to wait for a few minutes before the gate is opened.

Historically, we have opened this gate as a courtesy to a few supporters, but this has become so popular that we now need to control numbers. Its primary purpose is for emergency use only to allow directional evacuation if normal exit routes are compromised. 

The gate is not locked but is closed and stewarded. However, it will be opened a relatively short period after full time once most supporters in Colin Farmer and Optimising IT stands have exited via the normal routes from those stands as per our configuration arrangements submitted as part of our safety certificate and SGSA licence applications.

If found in breach of these, the Club could be subject to punishments including potentially hefty fines and / or a reduction in capacity (and income) so we appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter. We have developed various methods and approaches, which will often go unnoticed, to deal with common crowd issues, particularly in the away end. Our stewards, both CTFC and from our agency suppliers, are professional and resilient, and their work can often be challenging when dealing with particularly difficult situations.

We also take the pyro issue very seriously but unless we employ expensive specialist detection dogs, we simply won’t find every smoke bomb or flare being smuggled into the ground. When we do, or when we identify those who ignite / throw them, then they are dealt with through the courts with the support of our Police partners.

We have had several cases where pyros have been successfully found and seized from visiting supporters in search operations. When a pyro is thrown onto the pitch it must be left to burn out safely. They can be very dangerous devices and stewards will wait until they are safe to remove from the pitch, hence the delay that is sometimes seen in re-starting the match.

Finally, pitch incursions. We are here to provide crowd safety management – not crowd control. To manage a crowd effectively you must have at least tacit cooperation of the majority. This is why, when faced with pitch incursions of the type seen at the recent Exeter City match, you only see a small proportion of the activity dealing with the incident. We could try to grab every single individual, take them out and hand them over to the Police (and we do this when the situation allows), but experience has shown that this often leads to disorder and can make the situation worse.

We have very good CCTV and very quickly, usually before kick-off, work out where the cameras need to be focused and, in slower time, we can work with the Police to identify offenders so they can be dealt with in due course. There is at least one individual who came onto the pitch at the end of the Exeter fixture who will be receiving an invitation to a meeting with the Devon and Cornwall Police.

Safety and stewarding is something we want to do in partnership with you, not to impose upon you. We work hard to do things properly but, as we are all human, we don’t always get things right. When we don’t, we hold our hands up and are willing to listen and learn.

Please help us to help you and keep Whaddon Road a safe place to visit!

Thank you for your support.

John, Nick & Paul

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