CAS Trust has been in communication this week with Charlton Athletic Safety Officer Mick Everett following our letter to Katrien Meire expressing concerns about the incident in the West Stand car park after the Coventry game.
Mick has confirmed to us that the four plain clothes operatives who were involved in the incident will not be used at The Valley again. In response to our question as to whether the use of plain clothes security staff is to be a regular occurrence he has clarified "it was the first and it will certainly be the last time we use security staff in plain clothes."
Mick informed us that the club has carried out a review of its overall security strategy. He did not feel it was appropriate to reveal the details of this beyond the general principle of “not to seek confrontation with supporters unless they are acting anti-socially." He added: Ultimately we have a responsibility to ensure the safety of everyone attending matches at The Valley, and that includes players, officials, management and supporters. We would not under any circumstances put at risk our hard earned reputation in relation to The Valley being a safe and welcoming environment for everybody."
We sought specific reassurance on the matter of banners and flags and requested that the club take a common sense and conciliatory view about items which are not overtly offensive. Mick drew our attention to the club’s Flags and Banners policy which he says is generally in line with other Premier League and EFL clubs and is as follows:
Banners are allowed provided that permission has been sought in advance of the day and that they do not obstruct any of our advertising, signage, exit routes, or restrict the views of other fans. If there is a sterile area or an empty block of seats the club may permit banners to be placed in the sterile area across the unused seats or empty block.
Permission to do so must first be obtained from the club. The club reserves the right to confiscate any flags or banners brought into the stadium without being approved prior to entry.
All banners/flags measuring more than 150cm x 150cm should be made from fire-retardant material and a fire certificate must be produced. Proof of certification may be required whenever they are brought into the stadium. Banners / flags on poles are not permitted unless the pole is under 1 meter in length and no bigger than 7mm in diameter.
Fans should speak to the safety officer or his deputy before the day of the game to seek permission on putting up flags.
What we do not allow on banners is: anything racial, homophobic or of a discriminatory, defamatory or inflammatory nature; anything that we may feel is controversial to either of the teams or their ownerships; anything political; anything that could be deemed obscene