No police escort for Wear-Tyne derby due to supporters' good behaviour

The match kicks off at 12pm on Sunday at the Stadium of Light.
The match kicks off at 12pm on Sunday at the Stadium of Light.

Northumbria Police has confirmed that there will be no police escort for either Sunderland or Newcastle fans attending this weekend's match.

The much-anticipated game will kick off at noon on Sunday - with more than 45,000 fans expected at the Stadium of Light to watch.

But due to the "fantastic" behaviour from fans of both clubs, Northumbria Police has now confirmed that there will no longer be a traditional police escort, as was the case with the last derby game in April.

Extra officers will be on duty during match day, to help supporters at key points in both cities before, during and after the game. An agreement is in place with licencees to not serve alcohol before 9am.

Operations Commander Chief Superintendent Steve Neill said: "The majority of supporters on derby day are there to enjoy the game and soak up the occasion that is the Wear-Tyne derby.

"We have policed many derby games and the majority of fans enjoy the day safely and peacefully. In recent matches there has been no major disruption and a relatively low number of arrests.

"The credit for these successful derbies sits with both sets of fans who have been a superb advert for football and the region.

"I also acknowledge the key role played by our partners, particularly the licencees across the force area. Together everyone connected with the best derby in the country has made it a derby to be proud of.

"We want that to continue but there may be a minority of people who are intent on causing problems - our message is that trouble will not be tolerated and anyone who puts the safety of supporters at risk on the day will be dealt with swiftly and firmly."

Police have also worked with Sunderland AFC to combat crowds at the turnstiles with a queue management system. This will ensure supporters can access the stadium in a safer and quicker manner.

Once the game has ended, Newcastle fans will be asked to remain in their seats for a short period of time after the final whistle but the concourse will remain open so they will have access to refreshments.

When supporters exit the match they are advised that roads out of the city will be busy and should be sure to plan their travel arrangements for the game in advance.

Newcastle fans are encouraged to use the club supporters buses, and those travelling by either train or metro are also urged to give themselves extra time for their journeys.

Chief Superintendent Neill added: "The derby will take place on a Sunday lunchtime but we still expect the region's roads to be busy as supporters travel to the game.

"There will be lane closures on two significant routes out of Sunderland which will affect fans of both clubs and you need to make sure you listen to our travel advice and plan how you are going to get to the stadium."

Roads closed on derby day will be Sheepfolds North and Sheepfolds Road, near to the St Peter’s Metro station, and there will be limited parking in Sunderland on the day.

Roadworks will also see single lane closures on the westbound carriageways of Wessington Way in Sunderland and the Felling bypass between St James' Road and Albany Road