Hundreds of police officers are to be involved in an operation aimed at keeping fans safe before, during and after tonight’s ‘Steel City’ derby.
Extra officers have been drafted in from neighbouring forces to boost the number of bobbies available for South Yorkshire Police’s operation, which has been months in the planning.
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Forber, who is running the operation, said there will be an increased police presence on the streets from around lunch time until the early hours of tomorrow.
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He said he wants the 129th city derby to be remembered for the football game, not trouble involving rival fans.
Much of the police activity will involve trying to avoid the potential for clashes between fans.
“The police operation is to keep people safe,” he said.
“It’s a long operation for us with the football game in the middle.
“The overwhelming majority of fans going will be genuine football supporters who want to watch a really good game of football.
“I want people to remember Friday night for what will be a good game and a showcase for the city.
“It is an iconic fixture and there is lots of rivalry between the two clubs but it is a great occasion for the city and an opportunity to showcase sport at its best.”
He added: “The overwhelming majority want to come and watch a football game, enjoy themselves and support their team. Our role is to make sure they can do that in the safest way possible.
“If there is a very small minority of individuals who want to come and engage in disorder we will deal with that.”
Tonight’s game at Bramall Lane kicks off at 7.45pm.