Police: Pepper spouts Stoke City fans were & # 39; justified & # 39; … but lessons will be learned

The police have revealed that their decision to spray with pepper Stoke City fans & # 39; justified & # 39; were – but admits they learned lessons from the incident.

Supporters were at the hall in Deepdale during the Saturday match against Preston North End when PAVA was used.

A video posted on social media showed Stoke fans, including children, who sang before being sprayed.

It had been suggested that some of them had tried to leave the stadium to get a cigarette.

Lancashire Constabulary has now justified the use of the spray & # 39; and & # 39; proportional & # 39; – although they admit that improvements are needed in the way they play soccer matches.

Police in the corner during the Stoke City match against Preston North End

Chief Inspector Pete Lawson, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: "After having given a debriefing of the Preston v Stoke City game on Saturday, it is clear to me that the officers are using PAVA on the basis of the best information available to them in a extremely challenging situation.

"Officers were confronted with a group of supporters who had kicked to an exit door at a time when it was reported that a match steward was being attacked, and they acted with the sincere conviction that the threat they and others were facing justified the use of PAVA and proportionally made.

Police promises investigation after Stoke City fans who have been sprayed with pepper in Preston North End

"Lessons have been learned, including key points about the difficulties that can be experienced to communicate effectively in a loud and busy environment, although seriously, this was the only incident of real concern all day and the behavior of the vast majority of Stokes- supporters was good.

"Lancashire Constabulary is committed to using the experience to improve the way in which football can be coordinated in the future."

Peter Crouch celebrates after finishing Stoke City's equalizer against Preston at Deepdale.
Peter Crouch celebrates after finishing Stoke City's equalizer against Preston at Deepdale.

Officers also confirmed that four people were arrested during the game – although none was associated with the incident in the hall.

Angela Smith, chairman of the Supporters Council of Stoke City FC, said: "It is disappointing that the police feel like that, I am afraid that the spray can be discharged into a confined space again.

Mum: & # 39; My son, 12, was sick after he was sprinkled by the police in the Stoke City contest & # 39;

"It is disappointing that the police found that our fans had let them do this action and I am sure the club will look into it."

Stoke City has revealed this afternoon that they are surprised that the investigation has been completed quickly and called for 'further dialogue & # 39;

A spokesman for the club said: "We are aware of the Lancashire Constabulary statement about Saturday's events in Preston.

"It surprises us that they have issued the statement so quickly that they suggest that they have completed their investigation into the incident.

"Based on our current knowledge, we can not agree or accept the conclusions they seem to achieve and we would like to welcome further dialogue and research on this."

Amanda Jacks, from the Football Supporters & Federation (FSF), has met with the police.

She added: "It was a very difficult incident and it is gratifying that Lancashire Constabulary has already apologized to all the innocent fans who got caught up in it.

"The FSF warmly welcomed the willingness of the Lancashire Constabulary to invite us to a meeting and all fans with problems can contact us directly."

Stoke City fan Alfie Spain with mom Claire Wise
Stoke City fan Alfie Spain with mom Claire Wise

Mama Claire Wise told StokeonTrentLive that she intends to file an official complaint after her 12-year-old son Alfie Spain was involved in the incident. Alfie said his eyes were stinging and he was sick after being hit by the spray.

No official complaints have been submitted to the Lancabé Constabulary.

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