On Friday 9 September 2016, a lawyer acting on behalf of Bristol City fans who were wrongly issued a section 35 dispersal notice, started court proceedings against West Midlands Police.
Before the away game at Birmingham City on 12 September 2015, 51 Bristol City fans were prevented from attending the game and escorted straight to New Street station to return to Bristol. The Supporters Club & Trust and the supporters caught up in this believe this is wrong and are claiming false imprisonment and a breach of Article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
The primary purpose of bringing this action is to ensure that future use of these dispersal powers is not abused by West Midlands Police and other forces around the country. We also aim to secure compensation for those affected.
The Supporters Club and Trust to date has paid for the action including legal and court fees. We believe this is fundamentally the role of a pro-active supporters group acting in the best interests of supporters.
We needed to start the case with some urgency because any claim relating to Human Rights must be brought within 12 months. Due to the delayed response from West Midlands police to our original letter of claim (6 months) a judge can later agree to extend this deadline for people who miss it and there is a good chance a judge will agree to do this. So, whilst we have initiated cases on behalf of 10 supporters, even if you missed the deadline, it is still worth coming forward and we can possibly add you to the claim later. We have since added another 7 claimants. Meanwhile, other funding options are being explored to support this.
We are still interested in hearing from any fans who were innocently caught up in this, particularly any that were drinking in and around the Square Peg Wetherspoons pub and then made their way on foot towards St Andrews from 2.30pm that day. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a contact telephone number. The resulting call from the legal team will only take 10 minutes to gather some basic information.