Officers from Northamptonshire may yet have to police Coventry City’s home AND away matches as part of plans for the Sky Blues to move to Sixfields.
A sizeable police presence is expected on Sunday for Coventry City’s first game in Northampton, where they will take on Bristol City in the League 1 match.
It comes amid plans for fresh protests outside Sixfields and follows a pitch invasion by a small number of Coventry fans during last weekend’s season opener.
It has now emerged Northamptonshire officers may yet have to travel to Coventry’s away matches, as well as dealing with their home games.
So far, Northamptonshire Police has committed resources to just two more Coventry City ‘home’ matches at Sixfields after Sunday. They are the televised visit of Sheffield United, in October, and the visit of Cobblers’ rivals Peterborough United, which is set for Boxing Day.
However, officers admit other matches could yet require match day officers, if intelligence suggests a police presence is required. Four home Cobblers’ matches, including Saturday’s visit of Newport County, are set to be policed during the same period.
Currently officers from the West Midlands also travel to Coventry City’s away matches to act as crowd ‘spotters’ and support the host club.
However, should Coventry’s stay in Northampton extend for the full five years that responsibilty is likely to instead be transferred to Northamptonshire Police.
It means the county force could potentially have to manage all of Coventry’s fans currently subjected to banning orders and deal with all the club’s pre-match planning. According to the latest available figures, there are rurrently 28 Coventry City banning orders.
Pc Nick Price, who is currently the only police football liaison officer in Northamptonshire, said: “We aren’t just going to be sending officers all over the country willy-nilly, it will be based on the intelligence we have got.”