MPS rejects claims of 'failure' over policing of Euro 2020 final
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has hit back at claims that its policing of the Euro 2020 final was a failure after a large number of fans without tickets attempted to get into Wembley Stadium.
The force was criticised for failing to ensure a so-called “ring of steel” was in place around the venue to ensure only authorised spectators were allowed access to the match.
In total, 26 people were arrested during the disorder at Wembley and further arrests and expected to follow.
Responding to the criticism, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors said that, ahead of the match between England and Italy, the MPS had deployed “one of the most significant and comprehensive policing plans the Met has ever committed to a football match of this scale” and that it was only later in the day that it became clear a large number of fans were arriving without tickets.
“Police commanders recognised this could result in ticketless fans attempting to get into the stadium, they updated security officials at Wembley of this risk. To support the stewarding efforts, further highly trained public order officers were deployed to Wembley Stadium as a precaution,” said Ms Connors.
“Soon after gates opened, the stewarding and outer security perimeter became overwhelmed and fans began pushing through security checks. I want to praise the quick response by police commanders and those brave officers who confronted these subsequent scenes of disorder and violence.
“I am in no doubt that their swift action prevented any further escalation. Frustratingly, 19 of our officers were injured during the course of Sunday’s policing operation when confronting volatile crowds.
“I do not accept that the policing operation failed and I stand by the difficult decisions made by police officers and the Met’s public order commanders. Without their immediate intervention, it is possible that this game could have been abandoned.
“The ugly scenes at Wembley on Sunday night will rightly be reviewed by the Football Association and by police. Where lessons can be learnt we will work with partners to ensure that future matches are not disrupted by a group of hooligans who are fuelled on alcohol.
“This was meant to be a day of national pride, full of jubilance and celebration. In the main, the day was exactly that. However, it was sadly tarnished by a minority of disorderly and violent fans who attempted to hijack the final for their own selfish personal gain. Throughout the course of the day, police officers witnessed disgraceful behaviour both in central London and at Wembley, where a number of people pushed through security cordons or fought with police officers.
“I share the nation’s anger at this behaviour. I want to reiterate the Met’s commitment to identifying those responsible for the scenes both in Wembley and in central London; their actions will have consequences.”