South coast police prepare for their largest-ever operation tonight as bitter rivals Portsmouth and Southampton meet… with fans already receiving warnings about violent clashes
- Portsmouth welcome Southampton to Fratton Park in the Carabao Cup this week
- It’s the first time the two south-coast rivals have played each other in seven years
- Hampshire police will launch their biggest operation to crack down on violence
It is the first time in seven years that the local rivals will have met, and local authorities have sought to cut off any threats of fan violence by issuing letters to a specific group of Southampton supporters.
Letters have been hand-delivered to a targeted group of Saints followers, advising them that any violence before, during or after the Tuesday night clash will bring prosecution.
Southampton fans have been given letters by police ahead of the derby clash with Portsmouth
‘We know what this match means to both sets of fans and we are working closely with both clubs to help make sure that the fans are able to enjoy this much-anticipated cup tie.
‘Our priority, as always, is public safety and we are confident that we have a wide range of different tactics available to us to best tackle any disruption by those who are intent on causing disorder.
‘The reason you have received this letter is because you have come to our attention as part of our proactive policing operation.
‘Be advised that Hampshire Constabulary will seek to prosecute any persons who aid, abet, incite, encourage, counsel, instigate or personally engage in public disorder or violence.’
Their last meeting ended in a 2-2 draw with Southampton hosting Portsmouth in the Championship at St Mary’s in April 2012.