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CLUB STATEMENT: HULL REVIEW

24 October 2013

Further comment on operational peer review

Following the initial statement released on Friday, Huddersfield Town has today given its responses to the nine recommendations made in the review relating to West Yorkshire Police's review of Town’s game against Hull City on Saturday 30 March 2013.

Recommendation 1: West Yorkshire Police review their policy on policing football and major events. In particular strong consideration should be given to the early referral to the SAG of all issues of dispute between West Yorkshire Police and football clubs/event organisers. 

WYP response:

We accept the recommendation. West Yorkshire police is a member of the Safety Advisory Groups that oversee our football clubs as well as other public event organisers. This review has highlighted that our referral of issues to the SAG is not as consistent or timely as it should be. We are revising our policy to improve our referral process. 

In addition, this review, its recommendations and our responses will be shared with the SAG chairs and in our force commanders meeting to ensure a mutual understanding. 

HTAFC response:

Huddersfield Town is not a member of the Safety Advisory Group (SAG). It only attends by specific invitation, not by right. Unless accompanied by other reforms the Club risks being left with no part to play in discussions at the SAG about policing for its own events. 

The Club is very concerned that this could exclude Huddersfield Town and would be detrimental to the objectives of all parties. 

Recommendation 2: West Yorkshire Police consider the introduction of a cadre system of commanders that precludes senior officers and ‘lead’ commanders from operating at clubs within their BCU. 

WYP response:

We accept the recommendation. West Yorkshire Police recognises the importance of the relationship between the club and commander being one that is both objective and seen to be objective – particularly from the perspective of visiting clubs and supporters. 

We will introduce a cadre-system of commanders to enable us to ensure that officers in command of matches are not drawn from the District (BCU) in which a club is situated. The cadre-system will be introduced over the course of the present season to enable some additional training of commanders and a period of re-adjustment to complete fixtures where commanders have already been diaried. 

HTAFC response:

HTAFC will continue to work with WYP and its designated officers on a professional basis. 

Recommendation 3: All meetings with event organisers or Football Club officials must be properly recorded and minuted. 

WYP response: 

We accept the recommendation. Gaps in the recording/minuting of meetings with event organisers in respect of the Huddersfield/Hull fixture were at variance with our normal practice. The importance of accurate recording/minuting has already been re-emphasised with our commanders and planning teams and will feature in our revised policy. 

HTAFC response:

This is a matter for WYP. We are however confident that HTAFC’s systems for recording meetings that we attend are robust and fit for purpose.

Recommendation 4: The creation of a joint communication/ media strategy must be considered at the earliest possible stage whenever negotiations are being entered into. 

WYP response:

We accept the recommendation. In addition, we have also held a meeting over the summer period with local and national representatives of the Football Supporters Federation to understand their views and we will continue working with them in the future. 

HTAFC response:

This is a matter for WYP.

Recommendation 5: West Yorkshire Police urgently address the public concern this event has generated through a transparent explanation of events and a clear outline of changes that will be implemented. 

WYP response:

We accept the recommendation. A letter is being prepared which is intended to be circulated to both sets of supporters by means of their club’s match programme and we will also be writing to MPs and the Humberside PCC who raised concerns with us at the time. In addition we will be publishing this peer review, its recommendations and our responses on our website to ensure that this information is freely available to the public. 

HTAFC response:

This is a matter for WYP.

Recommendation 6: The force considers the effectiveness of its intelligence gathering processes around public order events such as protest. 

WYP response: 

We accept this recommendation. When the potential for a protest arose in the context of this football fixture, the match planning team undertook the intelligence assessment rather than a dedicated intelligence cell. We have therefore decided to deal with similar circumstances in the future, by conducting an independent, intelligence assessment for any protest. This will ensure that the methodology used is appropriate and the operational response is proportionate. 

HTAFC response:

We welcome this recommendation and consider this as very important.

The intelligence process and assessment of risk and threat that follows is a key factor in determining the arrangements for policing and stewarding.

There is little transparency in the risk and threat assessment process, yet the Club is left to pick up the financial bill and supporters face disruption and inconvenience. Far more needs to be done build confidence and trust in these processes. Correctly assessing the risk is fundamental. 
 
It is concerning that the review reports intelligence indicated that 2,000 people would attend the demonstration ahead of the aforementioned game when in fact 70 did. Overstating the risk in this way undermined credibility and is damaging.

Recommendation 7: The force reviews the existing arrangements for the recording of critical decisions such as legal advice in support of operational commanders. 

WYP response:

We accept the recommendation and are reviewing our handling arrangements to ensure that critical decisions are correctly recorded and handled in conjunction with the legal services department. 

HTAFC response:

This is a matter for WYP.

Recommendation 8: The Chief Officer Team should revisit the procedure for the identification, sharing (in particular at leave periods) the management of risk internally. 

WYP response:

We accept the recommendation. In these particular circumstances, our normal arrangements whereby critical business is passed between the chief officers taking over force 24/7 duty responsibility did not work effectively. We have therefore reinforced these arrangements through the introduction of a new Force daily tasking meeting and a business continuity process managed by our Deputy Chief Constable. 

HTAFC response:

This is a matter for WYP.

Recommendation 9: Such operational risks that are identified should be presented to the Community Outcomes forum. 

WYP response:

We accept the recommendation with operational matters being reported by the Chief Constable to the Police and Crime Commissioner through the regular Community Outcomes meeting. 

HTAFC response:

Huddersfield Town will be seeking information about the Community Outcome meeting moving forward.

We can confirm that Huddersfield Town has requested a meeting with WYP to consider implications for the future policing arrangements.

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