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Look No Police!
Published : 07 Feb 2013 16:22:45
Scotland fans lived up to their good behaviour reputation last night which allowed local police a night off from crowd control
Gordon Strachan’s Scotland made history against Estonia last night by taking part in the first international game in the country without any police on duty at the ground. A crowd of 16,202 turned up at Pittodrie Stadium to witness a winning start to the Strachan era, with Charlie Mulgrew scoring the first goal under the new National Coach in a 1-0 win. By doing so, they also participated in the largest police-free football game in Scotland. Aberdeen’s SPL meeting with Dunfermline on 30 September 30 last year was recent example of a police-free club game. Grampian Police have also repeated this exercise at several 'low risk' features at Pittodrie, freeing-up officers from the terraces to return to the beat in their communities. David Brand, SFA’s Head of Security and Integrity, was full of praise for the Scotland supporters for their impeccable behaviour inside and outside the ground. He said: "On behalf of the Scotland National Team and the Scottish FA I would like to thank the fans for their exemplary behaviour throughout the day and, especially, inside Pittodrie during the match. Not only is this the first police-free international match in Scotland but it is also the biggest-attended game where there has been no police presence. It is a tribute to the excellent reputation of the Scotland supporters that Grampian Police, in conjunction with Aberdeen FC, felt confident enough to take the concept of police-free matches to this new level. There were no ejections during the match, no arrests before or during the game and only a small amount of alcohol confiscated outside. It is important that we work together to enhance the responsibilities around matchday to the club or international safety teams and to the stadium security staff, who operate with an increasingly sophisticated stewarding plan. Last night’s game was a fantastic spectacle but also a safe environment for more than 16,000 supporters to enjoy themselves." Chief Superintendent Adrian Watson, Aberdeen City Division Local Police Commander, praised fans after it was confirmed the game last night passed without incident. He said: "Scotland's fans have a history of good natured behaviour at football matches and the Tartan Army can quite rightly be proud of the fact that this game went ahead without the need for police officers inside the stadium. We will not compromise on safety and each game is the subject of a rigorous risk assessment with our partners. We have got to a stage where Pittodrie is one of the safest match day experiences in top flight football. Much of the credit has to go to the club, our other footballing partners, including in this case the SFA and of course the supporters themselves who have acted so responsibly, allowing us to free up officers to be returned to the heart of our communities where it matters. We are acutely aware of the importance of the club to the city and the north-east of Scotland and we will continue to do all we can to support it." John Morgan, Aberdeen FC Security Officer said: "We were delighted to host the first police-free international football match in Scotland and that the fixture passed without any major incident. Safety at Pittodrie will always be of the highest importance to ourselves and we will continue to work with Grampian Police and our other partners to build on this success in the future."