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Former police officer behind 'steel wall' tactic appointed head of safety at Crystal Palace

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A FORMER police officer and Croydon borough commander who used an eight foot steel wall to control crowds outside Selhurst Park has been appointed head of safety and security at Crystal Palace Football Club.

Adrian Roberts used the tactic, branded "heavy-handed" by some supporters, before and after Palace's matches with rival teams, including Brighton and Millwall, when the club was in the Championship.

He left the Metropolitan Police in August and has been hired by Palace, now in the Premier League, to oversee the safety of fans, staff and players on match days.

The former Chief Superintendent, who has specialist public order training, was borough commander in Croydon between 2008 and 2011, leaving the post shortly after being seconded from the borough in the immediate lead up to the August riots.

Since then his involvement in Croydon has been in overseeing policing operations at Selhurst Park.

His tactics - including the use of a steel wall - were criticised by a section of fans following a home fixture with Brighton in January 2012.

Mr Roberts, then chief superintendent, later told a supporters' meeting his methods had been a success because no one was hurt, though conceded communication could have been better.

He was also in charge of policing when Charlton supporters ripped up seating and lit flares during a match in February last year, and then caused extensive criminal damage to vehicles and property while being led away along Sangley Road.

Mr Roberts described their behaviour at the time as "mindless destruction".

According to his online CV he took up his new position in October.

It says he has "strategic oversight of safety and security matters for a Premiership Football Club, including stadium, training facilities, offices and personnel, together with the safety of all those involved in match-day including players visitors, staff and supporters".

Crystal Palace has not responded to requests for a comment. 

Former police officer behind 'steel wall' tactic appointed head of safety at Crystal Palace


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