Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Force Gets Ready for World's Rugby Fans to Hit Tyneside

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Force Gets Ready for World's Rugby Fans to Hit Tyneside

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Doughty Crime Reporter

AS THOUSANDS of rugby fans from across the world travel to Tyneside, police are putting the finishing touches to their plans to keep them safe during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Three fixtures will be played at St James' Park, on October 3, 9 and 10, involving teams from Scotland, South Africa, New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa, with capacity crowds expected at all of them.

Chief Supt Steve Neill of Northumbria Police, who is in charge of the policing operation, described how they will be approaching the job.

He said: "For our officers it is all about engagement and helping to create the right atmosphere for everybody. There will be some people asking for directions and other people asking for a selfie with a British police officer and we are very relaxed about that.

"But there is also some very, very detailed contingency plans and are in a position to respond to anything that happens.

"We want to send people away with fantastic memories of Newcastle."

Northumbria Police began planning for the event as soon as the city was named one of the tournament's 11 host cities back in May 2013.

Chief Supt Neill has been in charge of police planning for many of the biggest events to staged in the city over recent years, including numerous Tyne-Wear derbies. But he said he is expecting a very different atmosphere in the city for the Rugby World Cup.

"The events will have a real international flavour," said Chief Supt Neill. "On October 9 we are expecting fans from four different nations in the city, which should make for a very colourful evening. We have taken a lot from our experience of policing the Olympic Football matches in 2012 and the Olympic torch relay."

Chief Supt Neill explained the difference between policing rugby and football matches. …

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