Statement on incidents after Everton v Crystal Palace
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Officers are investigating following incidents inside and around Goodison Park following Everton’s Premier League game against Crystal Palace on Thursday (19 May).
Four males were arrested inside the ground after fans entered the pitch after the third goal and final whistle and a number of flares and smoke bombs were brought into the stadium.
Three males were arrested on suspicion of entering or attempting to enter a football ground while in possession of a flare, smoke bomb or firework and will attend for voluntary interview at a later date. One male was arrested for a breach of the peace and later de-arrested.
Officers are also investigating an altercation that took place on the pitch after the match involving two men and we are working with Everton FC to gather all available CCTV footage and are speaking to witnesses.
Following reports of disorder on County Road at 11.15pm, where police vehicles were targeted with bricks and bottles, a total of seven men were arrested.
Five men were arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly in a public place and one was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an officer in the execution of their duty. They were later de-arrested and will be dealt with at a later date.
A 26-year-old man from Bootle was also arrested on suspicion of violent disorder after two beer bottles were thrown towards officers.
Chief Inspector Andy Rankine said: “We’re grateful to the majority of fans who were well behaved and engaged with the police and stewards before, during and after yesterday’s crucial match.
“We understand that football fans want to show support for their team, and that passions can run particularly high at the end of the football season with a lot at stake.
“We know the joy and relief Everton fans felt as they secured Premier League survival, but we always want fans to enjoy such occasions safely and we will not tolerate anti-social or criminal behaviour under any circumstances.”
"Many in the local community will be appalled to hear that a large group gathered in a residential area on County Road to cause a significant nuisance and destruction to property.
“There is never any excuse for this careless behaviour, which showed a total disregard for the residents living nearby, and put police and members of the group themselves in danger.
“Gatherings such as this put an unnecessary strain on our emergency services and could mean that we might not be able to get to other people who really need us.”
“Damage was caused to emergency vehicles, while our officers were working to maintain order and keep others safe.
“Two key vehicles were forced to be taken off the road as a result of this despicable behaviour and will now need to be repaired.
"Thankfully none of our officers were seriously hurt, but the removal of police vehicles from service has a clear impact on the ability of our officers to attend emergencies.
Chief Insp Rankine added: “We have unfortunately seen a trend develop across the country of supporters setting off pyrotechnics inside football grounds.
“It is illegal to bring them into football grounds for a reason, as flares, smoke bombs and fireworks can pose a serious danger to those who carry them, as well as those around them when they are set off.
“Last night, one officer was treated for smoke inhalation after a pyrotechnic was set off close to his face, and it is completely unacceptable that officers working to keep people safe should be exposed to such dangers.
“Bringing items such as smoke bombs, flares and fireworks could lead to fans being arrested, ejected from the stadium and issued with a football banning order of up to five years, or even jailed.
“We will continue to work with Everton to study CCTV footage to identify those who brought smoke bombs, flares or fireworks into Goodison Park and they will be dealt with robustly by the police, the club and the courts.”
If anyone believes they have information about any of the incidents, please contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerseyPolice or Facebook Merseyside Police CC. You can also call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: Give information | Crimestoppers (crimestoppers-uk.org).