Blame game erupts as Met Police Federation blames WEMBLEY for telling officers too late that several thousand people were trying to force their way in – as force chief claims heroic police stopped match being abandoned
- Police, security staff and the FA have come under fire over chaos at Wembley
- Thousands of hooligans stormed the stadium during England’s Euro 2020 final
- But Ken Marsh from Met Police Fed said Wembley had opted for private security
- He said when trouble erupted security did not raise the alarm quickly enough
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here
A blame game has erupted tonight over Sunday’s Wembley crowd chaos, with the top boss of the Met Police Federation claiming that stadium officials are at fault.
Police, security staff and the FA have come under fire after thousands of fans were filmed attempting to storm the national stadium ahead of England’s Euro 2020 final against Italy on Sunday night.
But today the Met Police Federation’s chairman, Ken Marsh, attempted to push the blame on to the FA, who he said had elected to pay private security firms to police the match instead of the force.
He also hit out at the decision to allow thousands of fans to ‘float around’ outside Wembley before and during the game.
And he said stadium security had not alerted police fast enough to growing trouble before fans eventually attempted to storm the ground.
His comments come as the Met’s Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick today firmly rejected claims that the Met’s operation had ‘failed’, saying it was one of the ‘most comprehensive’ plans in the force’s history.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World At One, Mr Marsh said: ‘Wembley is a private premises. We do not police private premises.
A blame game has erupted tonight over Sunday’s Wembley crowd chaos, with the top boss of the Met Police Federation claiming that stadium officials are at fault for the debacle
Police, security staff and the FA have come under fire after thousands of fans were filmed attempting to storm the national stadium ahead of England’s Euro 2020 final against Italy on Sunday night
But today the Met Police Federation’s chairman, Ken Marsh, attempted to push the blame at the FA, who he said had elected to pay private security firms to police the match instead of the force
Ken Marsh’s (pictured) comments come as the Met’s Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick today firmly rejected claims that the Met’s operation had ‘failed’, saying it was one of the ‘most comprehensive’ plans in the force’s history
Who is responsible for security at Wembley?
Wembley Stadium is privately owned by the Football Association – otherwise known as The FA – which holds ultimate responsibility for security arrangements inside the stadium and the land around it.
Instead of a police presence, the FA pays to have security staff in and around the stadium and they are responsible for fan safety and crowd control.
However the Met Police still have responsibility for any criminality that takes place, whether that be inside or out.
And of course police do still provide presence around the stadium – as they do with all elite-level football games.
Though, contrary to popular belief, that policing is largely provided at the expense of the taxpayer, rather than the clubs.
It comes after a court ruling in 2012, in which a judge ruled in the favour of Leeds United after they argued that the club should only pay for police inside the ground and the land it controlled.
‘We used to police within Premiership games at Wembley etc, and they had to start paying for it.
‘They didn’t want to pay the money that was required, so they brought in private security companies.
‘When you take the game that took place on Sunday, by the time we had it brought to our attention that several thousand people were trying to force their way in it was too late for us, because we were the wrong side of them and unable to repel them from doing so.
‘We had flagged this up previously because there were far too many people within the area of Wembley for an 8pm kick off. There were tens of thousands floating about, it was unprecedented numbers.
‘By the time it was brought to our attention then it was too late.’
MailOnline has approached the FA for comment.
His comments come after a total of 5,000 hooligans were filmed storming Wembley Stadium during Sunday’s game.
The showcase match was marred by ugly scenes of ticketless fans breaching security and forcing their way into the concourses.
They were later seen taking their spots among empty seats and corridors inside the ground.
Yesterday freelance AIPS reporter Chris Williams claimed that, having spoken to a UEFA events manager who was at Wembley on Sunday, an initial assessment is that the capacity – which was set at 60,000 – was over that by 5,000
However, that number could easily increase once a full investigation is completed.
People were still able to gain access to the stadium through broken gates and turnstiles whilst the game was still being played in extra-time too, it is also being claimed.
An initial statement on Sunday night insisted that there was just one singular incident – and added that no fans had breached security.
It is claimed 5,000 ticketless hooligans stormed into Wembley for Sunday’s final against Italy
Football fans managed to force their way through just moments ahead of Sunday night’s final
Football fans storm through security barriers as stewards desperately try to hold them back
Cressida Dick has been embroiled in a string of controversies during her 38-year career at the Met.
In July 2005 she was in overall charge of the operation which saw electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, shot dead on a Tube train in south London.
Mr de Menezes, a Brazilian working in the capital, was blasted in the head seven times by police at Stockwell station after being followed by officers from his home nearby.
Later inquiries heard he appeared to match the description of suspects whose bombs failed to detonate on the transport system the previous day.
Their attempted attack followed the 7/7 atrocity which killed 52 people on Tubes and a bus in London earlier that month.
Dame Cressida was cleared of all blame by later inquiries, but Mr de Menezes’ family expressed ‘serious concerns’ when she was appointed Met Commissioner in 2017.
The top policewoman, 60, told the Mail in 2018: ‘It was an appalling thing – an innocent man killed by police. Me in charge. Awful for the family and I was properly held to account. We learned every lesson that was to be learned.
‘My job was to stand up and be counted, tell the truth and carry on. If police officers fell to pieces or resigned when operations didn’t go well, it wouldn’t send out a good message.’
In 2014 Dame Cressida was an assistant commissioner during the creation of Operation Midland – the Met’s investigation into spurious VIP child sex abuse allegations.
Innocent men, including the late Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, were pursued by the force.
The Met’s star witness ‘Nick’ was later revealed to be serial liar Carl Beech.
In 2017 Dame Cressida was criticised for her choice of words after she said the victims of the London Bridge terror attack demonstrated London’s ‘diversity’.
The officer added: ‘We believe, of course, that that’s what makes our city so great. It’s a place where the vast majority of time it’s incredibly integrated and that diversity gives us strength.’
In 2019 the Met under Dame Cressida’s leadership was widely criticised for its ‘light-touch’ policing of Extinction Rebellion protests.
The environmental demonstrators were allowed to blockade key areas of the capital for days, including Westminster Bridge and Oxford Circus.
Dame Cressida has faced a particularly difficult 2021. She faced huge pressure to resign over the Met’s handling of a vigil in memory to murdered Sarah Everard – who was raped and murdered by serving officer Wayne Couzens.
Women were pushed to the floor and arrested after being asked to leave the area due to Covid rules – leading to accusations of ‘heavy-handedness’.
Police were later exonerated in a watchdog report.
However the pressure mounted again last month when a damning inquiry into the 1987 murder of a private investigator who was looking into bent cops branded her force ‘institutionally corrupt’ and condemned her for blocking the gathering of evidence.
She said it was a ‘matter of great regret that no one has been brought to justice’ in the case of Daniel Morgan, who was killed with an axe to the head in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London.
But she refused to resign over the matter, despite calls from Mr Morgan’s family to consider her position.
It comes as Dame Cressida today backed her officers after they were criticised following the violent scenes at Wembley.
Dame Cressida said she was ‘very proud’ of her officers and the command team, as she was made a Dame Commander by the Prince of Wales.
The Met have been accused of failing to install a ring of steel around Wembley and prevent a violent element from gaining access to the stadium.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has insisted the force has his full support despite the chaotic scenes in Wembley and across the capital during Sunday night’s final against Italy.
Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said on Monday that a full review will take place into what had happened and he accused ‘drunken yobs’ of trying to force their way into the stadium without tickets.
During the investiture ceremony at St James’s Palace on Wednesday, Dame Cressida, who was honoured for serving the public during a policing career lasting almost 40 years, dedicated the honour to her many colleagues.
Asked to respond to the criticism around the Euro 2020 final policing, Dame Cressida said: ‘There will be a full debrief of course, there’s an awful lot of inaccurate speculation about what happened at the moment.
‘I’m very proud of my officers and the command team.’
There is also speculation about the future of Dame Cressida, with reports claiming the country’s top police officer is considering seeking an extension to her term in Scotland Yard.
Asked if she wants to continue in her job, she replied: ‘I’m very focused on my job, I love my job, it’s a huge honour – it’s a real privilege to be doing my job, I’m very happy.’
Mr Khan meanwhile said: ‘It was not right what happened on Sunday, not just at Wembley, but across our city, with the hooligans from outside London breaking the law in Leicester Square, Liverpool Street, Trafalgar Square, Wembley and so forth.
‘The FA are reviewing their arrangements at Wembley, the Met Police Service will take part in that review.’
He added the force was examining CCTV and body-worn videos and highlighted that 19 officers had been injured: ‘What’s also really important, that I say loudly and clearly: the police have my full confidence and full support.’
Dame Cressida’s leadership of the force and its integrity have come under increasing scrutiny in recent months following a series of damaging events.
On Friday, Met Police Pc Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty to the murder of Sarah Everard after previously admitting her kidnap and rape.
The Met was also criticised over the policing of a vigil for Miss Everard at Clapham Common, near where she disappeared, which was mired in controversy after officers arrested a number of protesters.
A recent report into the unsolved 1987 murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan also accused the Met of ‘institutional corruption’ after concluding the force had concealed or denied failings in the case to protect its reputation.
The Met Police boss was made a dame in Theresa May’s resignation honours in 2019 and said about the recognition: ‘It’s absolutely fantastic, a huge honour, wonderful to meet His Royal Highness and to be here in St James’s Palace.
‘I’m receiving it on behalf of all my hardworking colleagues who have over nearly 40 years given me massive support and been absolutely brilliant.’
Dame Cressida began her career in the capital with the Met in 1983 before moving to Thames Valley Police and returning to London to hold a variety of command roles in the police response to the 9/11 attacks and the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.
She was thrust into the public eye in 2005 after she was in charge of the operation that led to the fatal shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, who was wrongly identified as a potential suicide bomber.
A jury later cleared her of any blame in his death.
She was the national lead for counter-terrorism for three years, and also led security operations for the Queen’s diamond jubilee and 2012 Olympics before being appointed commissioner in 2017, the first woman to hold the post.
Looking back she said: ‘I think it’s true today as it was when I joined in 1983 – people join because they want to help people, protect people, bring justice.
‘I talk to my young recruits now and they will say the same thing – they want to do something useful and helpful in the community and it’s an incredibly satisfying job.
‘It’s a privilege to do that sort of job and I’ve had a wonderful time.’
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