Calls for investigation into ‘outrageous’ clash between police and Blackpool fans after Birmingham City match

An away supporter believes West Midlands Police’s conduct is needed after fans clashed with police at a Birmingham City match in November.

Clips posted online showed the chaotic aftermath of a game against Blackpool – with police officers hitting fans with batons.

At the time, West Midlands Police said it would “review its investigation” into the incident, but did not issue any further updates.

It’s now been over a month since the disorder reportedly left flares and saw missiles fly by.

Read more: West Midlands Police launch investigation as video shows clashes with fans after Birmingham City vs Blackpool

The force claimed that as the crowd was leaving it received intelligence that Blackpool supporters were “seeking a confrontation” with home fans.

Police said in a statement that officers attempted to keep fans away for a “short period” on Coventry Road to defuse the situation.

“Our number one priority has always been the safety of fans’ football matches and there was a plan in place to make sure everyone left the stadium safely,” he said.

The incident kept fans on hold for a ‘short time’, claims the force

Now a fan is trying to hold the West Midlands Police responsible for the incident.

Blackpool supporter Gary Trower has filed a complaint with the force and wants to investigate the police surveillance, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The 46-year-old, who attends every Blackpool home and away game, said he was one of the first at the gate and claimed fans were kept up for 50 minutes.

The football fan has coordinated the social media response, asking fellow supporters to provide him with photos and footage of the incident.

He said West Midlands Police had responded to the evidence he had compiled by blaming Blackpool fans for the outbreak of violence.

“They said they found video showing that it was us who started it,” Gary explained.

“They’re basically accusing us. But I know a lot of complaints have actually been made about the aggression they’ve done towards us.

“What happened in Birmingham was shameful. It was absolutely disgusting.”

Gary claimed he saw some officers “attacking” teenage fans, some of whom were hit on the left with visible markings seen by Birmingham Live.

“Some of our boys might just turn a little, yes, but they pull their sticks and they literally start hitting people,” Gary said.

“There was a report of a 15-year-old child that I had received and the children were being separated from their families. I have actually found a picture of the boy who has been hit on his head and has a big red mark under his head where was hit with a stick.”

Gary said he was told about a different incident with Birmingham City when they last faced Blackpool.

“I didn’t know about it because I didn’t go to the last game,” he went on.

“But the last time we went to Birmingham City, which I think was a few years ago, our fans caused some trouble. I think they were out for revenge, to be honest.

“One officer in particular was actually raising a stick over his head and he was hitting people downwards. It was shameful and I have reported to the IOPC.”

According to the IOPC, when a complaint is made, it is sent to the police force to log it.

It then depends on the force whether it fulfills the requirements to refer that complaint to the watchdog.

An IOPC spokesperson said it had not received a referral for the incident as of January 6, 2022.

In a letter in response to Gary’s complaint, West Midlands Police told him that no further action would be taken.

It read, “The body-worn video shows no evidence to support your allegation that the fans were quiet and that the officers used force without any reason.”

“The officers were subjected to significant verbal abuse and threats to their safety, including being attacked and spat on in that cordon.

“Authorities have however allowed families with children and the elderly to try and dislodge them safely through the siege.

“I can assure you that the police’s decision to pull down batons is not a decision taken lightly and was only made after several requests were ignored and the level of aggression towards the officers at the siege continued to mount.”

West Midlands Police was contacted for a comment, but did not respond.

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