West Ham's request for Police assistance denied due to unsatisfactory radio system
Published 13/09/2016 | 16:21
The Metropolitan Police maintain a lack of a "satisfactory radio system" at West Ham's London Stadium is preventing additional special policing services being put in place on match days.
West Ham have demanded that London Stadium owner E20 guarantees a police presence at future matches following crowd trouble during Saturday's 4-2 Premier League defeat to Watford.
An unspecified number of fans were ejected from the London Stadium after fights broke out in the closing stages of the game, although the Met Police have stated there were no arrests.
West Ham, who moved from Upton Park into the converted Olympic Stadium for the start of the new season, say they have specified ''essential important improvements'' to increase the numbers of those involved in stewarding and the security operation, as well as the level of training and experience they have in dealing with Premier League matches.
According to the club, E20 has confirmed that immediate action is being taken on the issues raised, including a ''more robust and secure line of segregation'' between home and away fans.
However, in a statement on Tuesday, Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Peter Terry, specialist crime & operations, said additional policing measures were not able to be implemented because of the lack of the Airwave radio system, which is used by the emergency services, and the problem was highlighted two years ago.
"The stadium operators are responsible for the safety and comfort of their customers and staff. This includes disorderly behaviour that has not reached the level of criminality," Terry said.
"The Metropolitan Police Service will fulfil its legal responsibilities in relation to dealing with matters of criminality.
"The MPS is not able to provide special policing services at this time as it would normally, as there is no satisfactory radio system across the ground.
"This issue was highlighted to the stadium operators in October 2014 and the MPS has been in negotiation with stadium operators regarding the provision of Airwave radio inside the stadium.
"During this time the MPS had spoken to the stadium operators several times to highlight the consequences of not installing such a system.
"Until there is comprehensive Airwave radio coverage throughout the ground officers will not be routinely deployed within it under a special services agreement.
"The stadium operators have only very recently agreed to install a satisfactory radio system."
West Ham supporters fought among themselves and clashed with stewards and Watford fans in what was just the Irons' second Premier League game at their new home.
Fans are unhappy at the stewarding and being unable to stand as they did at Upton Park, with West Ham urging supporters to sit in order to comply with safety standards that would allow them to increase their capacity by 9,000 to 66,000.
The club hves warned they could hand life bans to any supporters found to have been involved in crowd trouble. West Ham's next home is against Accrington in an EFL Cup tie on September 21 before they host Southampton in the Premier League four days later.
The club were not available for immediate comment in response to the Metropolitan Police Service statement when contacted by the Press Association on Tuesday afternoon