Birmingham & Black Country

Major events 'help police prepare for Birmingham derby'

Aston Villa's Emile Heskey and Birmingham City's Roger Johnson
Image caption The game at Villa Park ended goalless

Police handling the football derby game between Aston Villa and Birmingham City said managing other big events recently would stand them in good stead.

The West Midlands force policed the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the city and the Conservative Party conference.

The force increased the number of officers for a Sunday because of the match at Villa Park, which ended 0-0.

There has been trouble around previous Birmingham derbies and police said experience taught them to be vigilant.

They said there was a need for extra resources before, during and after the Premier League match.

Ch Supt Surjeet Manku, match day commander, said: "When we're looking at after the game, I've got resources that can respond essentially anywhere in Birmingham.

"But our focus will be around the city centre."

He said anyone arrested for football-related matters would be subject to applications for football banning orders, which would prevent them from attending future fixtures.

Ch Supt Manku added: "It does put extra demands on our resources.

"But we have got the capability and the skills to manage these type of events."

After Aston Villa beat Birmingham City 5-1 in April 2008, a 26-year-old Villa fan was killed after a car was deliberately driven at him. The driver of the car was jailed for life the following year.

On Saturday the clubs were paired together in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup.

The tie at St Andrew's will be played in the week starting 29 November. Villa were beaten 2-1 by Manchester United in last season's final at Wembley.

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