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Patrols stepped up in Southend in preparation for football match

Essex Police will be mounting high visibility patrols in Southend and have made three arrests as the town’s football club bids to make its first Wembley Stadium final.

Officers will be deployed in the area of the Roots Hall stadium and the town centre with the aim of keeping everyone safe before, during and after the match against Leyton Orient on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.

Three men have also been arrested in connection with football related violence as part of the operation.

Two men, aged 22 and 20, from Southend and one man, aged 21, from Grays, were arrested at their home addresses on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 on suspicion of affray.

They have all been taken to police stations for questioning in connection with an incident of disorder reported to have occurred at a pub in Leytonstone, London, on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

Superintendent Adrian Coombs said: "Southend United is a family friendly club and police work very closely with staff at Roots Hall to maintain a safe environment for the fans and their families.

"Unfortunately, we sometimes get a small number of fans turning up to matches who are not there to enjoy the football but are using it as an excuse to commit disorder.

"We want to send those individuals a strong message that they will not be welcome at this fixture and if they do turn up they will be very closely watched.

"Our licensing officers have also been making sure pub owners and managers are prepared for a busier night and they have been advised to carry out their own risk assessments; to use plastic glasses and make sure their CCTV is working and they have plenty of door and bar staff available to work.”

Police officers would also be visiting pubs and any trouble makers could find themselves spending the evening at a police station rather than the match.

Supt Coombs added: "We will also be keeping an eye out for anyone who currently has a banning order in place preventing them from attending the match," he said.

"Our hope is that this game will prove to be a good night out for all concerned but we are putting a policing plan and resources in place to ensure that we are prepared for all eventualities.

"Anyone who commits disorder to spoil the occasion will be dealt with at the earliest opportunity and pursued through the court system.

"As part of our pro-active approach to tackling potential disorder we have today carried out the arrests of these suspects who are believed to have previously been involved in football related violence.

"Our message to everyone attending tonight's game is to have a safe and enjoyable evening but if anyone attends intent on causing trouble then they are likely to end up spending their time in police custody."


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