THE man with responsibility for community safety in Redditch has spoken of his disappointment at the lack of Police officers when crowds spilled on to Unicorn Hill after England’s 6-1 World Cup victory over Panama last Sunday.
And Councillor Gareth Prosser, who himself spent 38 years on the force, said he had not been satisfied with the level of detail from Police after writing to them to find out what there plans were for future matches.
Now he is demanding a greater police presence as the national team look fair to continue in the competition.
“I was not satisfied with the response, to me it lacked detail,” said Coun Prosser (Con, Crabbs Cross).
“England have qualified for the next stage of the competition and there is the potential for similar scenes as we saw on Sunday.”
He was speaking after Redditch shot to national notoriety after exuberant England fans were filmed stopping traffic on Unicorn Hill, climbing on a Diamond Bus and ‘surfing’ down the hill on the back of it.
Frightened shoppers had to run for cover while the bus driver was repeatedly spat at and youths tried to climb through his window.
The traumatised driver so covered in saliva he had to go home to get changed, but, said Diamond operations manager Chris Bridges, to his huge credit he returned to continue his shift.
“I’m horrified and I’m ashamed and I’m very angry,” she said.
“This behaviour is totally unacceptable – my concern was for the driver and passengers and other road users.
“The driver was repeatedly spat at, which is absolutely disgusting.
“And then what if the guy who jumped on the back of the bus had fallen off – he could have died.”
One eyewitness said there wasn’t a police officer in sight when the disturbance happened.
“I want to know where the Police were,” he said.
“They knew it was a 1pm kick off, they knew people would have been drinking all afternoon and yet there wasn’t one of them about to keep order.”
Coun Prosser said fans had spilled out of the Royal Enfield pub on Unicorn Hill after the management put the towels on to clear up after the match.
He added it was believed some fans had then gone up to the Bramley Cottage pub in Walkwood where there was another disturbance.
“Every licensee has a responsibility and should not be serving drink to people who are already intoxicated,” said Coun Prosser.
“I have every sympathy with the Police, it’s a difficult job, but I want to see a greater Police presence.”
Redditch Police have responded by increasing the number of officers on patrol during the competition by 20 per cent.
Sergeant Mandy Partridge said: “We are aware that this incident followed shortly after the England match and want to reassure residents that throughout the World Cup we have increased resources at peak times, and any disorder will be thoroughly investigated.”