Sunderland AFC help police spy on its own supporters
State-of-the-art camera technology at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light is to be used on match days to clearly identify any individual in the ground getting involved in anti-social behaviour. Fans who misbehave at this weekend’s Sunderland-Newcastle derby [Sunday 25 October 2015] have been warned they will be caught on camera.
The special high-resolution Panomera CCTV camera, which can clearly identify any individual within the stadium, was installed last season to assist the police and club safety staff to ensure any incidents of anti-social behaviour can be dealt with swiftly and efficiently.
The camera can capture detailed footage of the stadium’s entire away section, and can be used to rewind and zoom in while continuing to record. The technology gives the club and police the ability to easily identify fans engaging in any form of anti-social behavioor, such as throwing smoke grenades or coins, or damaging seats.
Sunderland AFC’s head of safety Paul Weir said: “The system uses the latest technology to ensure we can create a safer environment for everyone at the Stadium of Light.
“The majority of supporters visiting the stadium are very well behaved and are here to simply enjoy the game and get behind their team. However, having this system in place ensures we can quickly identify and deal with the small minority intent on causing disorder.
“We can view footage of any incident, and, more importantly, the minutes preceding the incident. This is particularly useful if, for example, a smoke grenade has been set off or a missile been thrown.
“We can rewind to the incident and zoom in, so we effectively see the smoke rewinding back into the canister and into the hand of the offender. Likewise, missiles zoom backwards to the thrower’s hand – clearly indicating the individual responsible for the act.”
Chief Superintendent Steve Neill, operations commander at Northumbria Police, said: “We welcome the investment Sunderland AFC have made in supporter safety at the Stadium of Light. We will continue to work closely with the club to ensure any misbehaviour within the stadium is dealt with positively and robustly.”