LONE POLICE OFFICER PREVENTS CLASH BETWEEN 75 WARRING FOOTBALL THUGS
A brave Police Officer stood alone between two sets of warring football hooligans as they pelted each other with glasses and bottles and exchanged punches.
Pc Simon Chamberlain, one of Leicestershire Police's hooligan 'spotters', prevented the clash involving 75 men from escalating, pushing them apart even as they edged closer to a mass fight.His actions, in January this year, have won him a bravery commendation from Leicestershire's Chief Constable Simon Cole. Pc Chamberlain said: "It could have been absolute carnage. I got between them and pushed them back as best I could to keep them apart. Up to 50 Leicester 'fans' and approximately 25 Stoke City 'supporters' had arranged the meeting in Hotel Street, in the city centre while their teams met at King Power stadium. Pc Chamberlain and his counterpart from Staffordshire Police were on patrol in the city centre and the only officers available to respond immediately. When they arrived the two groups were throwing bottles and glasses at each other while some of them squared up to each other exchanging punches. Back-up was not immediately available because the clash coincided with the end of the match and officers were either busy at the ground or unable to get across town quickly enough as the streets were filled with traffic and fans walking away from the stadium. While his colleague filmed the incident for evidence-gathering purposes, Pc Chamberlain formed a human barrier between the two groups. The fact that City were trailing in a game which they went on to lose only heightened the tension between the two groups.Pc Chamberlain, who has been with the force for 14 years and worked as a 'spotter' for the past 12 years, said it was worst experience of his career.After receiving his bravery commendation on Friday, he said: "It was a planned meet and when I got there they were throwing bottles and glasses at each other. Some punches had been thrown too. It was the older members of Leicester's Baby Squad, men in their 40s and 50s. My job is to spot the hooligans on the match-day, so I knew some of them, so I was able to speak to some of them by name. It felt like a lifetime, but the CCTV footage showed I was there between them for about eight or nine minutes before colleagues arrived. Some people said I was stupid for what I did, but I couldn't have just sat in the car and waited for other officers. There was a risk it was going to get seriously out of hand and this is in a busy part of the city centre with many members of the public going about their business."
Chief Constable Cole handed out a number of awards to officers, staff and members of the public during ceremonies at force headquarters in Enderby this week.He said: "I am always taken aback when I hear the amazing stories and bravery these individuals show and to know that those acts of bravery, kindness and dedication go on in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland every day."
Details from Leicester Mercury