Behind the scenes on derby day - how the police keep you safe

npower Championship; Ipswich Town v Norwich City Football Club at Portman Road; East Anglian Derby g

npower Championship; Ipswich Town v Norwich City Football Club at Portman Road; East Anglian Derby game; Police keeping Ipswich Town supporters away from travelling Norwich fans.; Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

Around 250 police officers will be patrolling the streets of Norwich today as a centuries old rivalry takes hold of the city.

Time to work on the kick-off for the East Anglian derby while

Time to work on the kick-off for the East Anglian derby while - Credit: Archant © 2009

At 12pm Norwich City will host Ipswich Town at Carrow Road - as the Canaries attempt to secure three points from a fixture they have been unbeaten in for a decade.

Norfolk Constabulary have spent months planning to ensure the only battles taking place are restricted to the pitch - and fans from both sides of the East Anglian Derby stay safe.

Officers from London, Cambridgeshire and Essex have been drafted in, as have a number of police horses and dog teams.

Earlier this year four Ipswich Town season ticket holders were given suspended jail sentences for tearing down light fittings at Carrow Road during last season's meeting.

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Around 27,000 fans are expected to descend on Carrow Road today, including 2,000 away fans.

And it is the forces's biggest pre-planned operation of the year - with 14 squads, three special squads, 21 spotters and 6 dog units among those in action.

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For the men and women on the front line the day starts with a 8.30am briefing at Norfolk County Hall.

Prior to this car park is bristling with anticipation and the barking of excited police dogs carries through the air.

Inside a hundreds of police officers wait in line to pick up a bacon bap and cup of coffee before heading along to the briefing.

There is silence as hundreds of officers listen attentively to Chief Insp Nathan Clark as he provides a run down of the plan of action.

The layout of the stadium is studied and potential high risk locations around the town are indicated - with the UK terror alert still at severe vans will be parked strategically as so to protect fans.

Chief Insp Nathan Clark reminded the force to ensure it is an enjoyable day - as after all it is a meeting of two 'family clubs'.

He added: 'Have a good crack with the public. You will have people from Norfolk, people from Suffolk - the finest people in the country.

Later as fans began entering the stadium the Chief Insp gives explains the biggest dangers of the day.

He said: 'The biggest thing we want to look out for is spontaneous disorder. There are pockets of risk supporters coming in and wanting to cause disorder - we will monitor those fans as close as possible.

Chief Insp Clark has policed the fixture for the past four years and said the operation is constantly evolving.

'We are always developing our response. Every year we learn something new.'

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