Northumbria Police have penned a derby day open letter to all Sunderland and Newcastle fans ahead of today’s match.
After previous comments saying that there would be a zero tolerance approach to anybody causing trouble before, during and after the game.
Today’s message is appealing to the better natures of both sets of supporters…
The Sunderland AFC vs Newcastle United fixture is one of the most popular football matches in the British football calendar and it’s an occasion that is enjoyed by fans across the country.
After the reverse fixture in December we met with supporters and received positive feedback on our policing approach to the game.
We have decided to again adopt this approach, with supporters being able to make their own way to the game without the’ traditional’ police escort.
Supporters have shown that the day can be a passionate yet peaceful one and although the 4pm kick-off on Easter Sunday brings with it some additional challenges our priority remains the same – the safety of the public.
We are working hard to keep disruption to a minimum and we ask you to help work with police and stewards to ensure an enjoyable day for all.
There will be a highly visible police presence on Sunday; if you experience any problems officers will be there to assist you.
It’s our job to work with the football clubs, local authorities and other partners to ensure those supporters who are lucky enough to attend and be part of the day can do so safely.
We have successfully policed many derby matches in the past and the majority of fans respect the occasion and work with the police and the clubs to help make the day as safe and enjoyable as possible.
We want you to enjoy yourselves and enjoy the match. If you are drinking then do so sensibly and make sure you have plans to get home safely after the game.
Please respect fellow supporters, club officials and police officers – we are all working together to try and get everyone home safe and well.
Operations commander chief superintendent Steve Neill