17 May Police watchdog to review progress made on football policing in Scotland
A watchdog is to examine progress made by Police Scotland following an independent review of football policing.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) will examine what steps have been taken by the force to fulfill 18 recommendations made in their initial report.
The probe was commissioned by Police Scotland just weeks after fans were caught up in a crush at Celtic Park in Glasgow following an Old Firm match.
The report, which was released in March, praised the force for their current operating model which they found was generally “fit for purpose”.
South Yorkshire’s Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, who lead the review, did find significant safety concerns during the probe.
It highlighted cases of some football clubs selling more tickets than their stadium’s capacity and erecting temporary unsafe seating.
The review also found that safety certificates were being issued for football stadiums without inspections being carried out by some local authorities.
DCC Roberts made a series of recommendations for Police Scotland to look into including a review of their current policing for seeking football banning orders through civil court action.
The report also stated that an urgent multi-agency review into appropriate governance, consultation and inspection regimes for Scottish venues used for football and other events.
A recommendation was also made for the force to consider extending the current diversionary schemes such as the “Changing Behaviours” programme to deter violent behaviour at matches.
A change of the function, composition and branding of the force’s Football Coordination Unit for Scotland (FoCUS) was also recommended.
HMICS will now liaise with Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Government to establish what progress has been made.
The review will also highlight areas of developing good practise, identify any areas with room for improvement and find any areas where further progress is required in matters of shared public safety and responsibility.
The finished assurance report is expected in July 2019.
Gill Imery, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, said: “The aim of this follow-up assurance review by HMICS is to provide an independent assessment of the progress made by Police Scotland in relation to the 18 recommendations made from the Independent Review.
“Where appropriate, this may result in recommendations from HMICS to address any important gaps in operations, policy or process before the commencement of the Scottish Professional Football League season 2019/2020 on 03 August 2019.”
Detective Chief Constable Will Kerr, of Police Scotland, said: “Police Scotland has an enviable reputation around how it polices large events, including sporting events such as the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games, and I’m pleased that the independent review highlighted this.
“But it is important for a learning organisation such as Police Scotland to reflect on areas where we may be able to improve our procedures or learn from good practice elsewhere.
“Work is under way to implement Police Scotland’s recommendations by the start of the 2019/20 domestic football season and we will report regularly to the Scottish Police Authority on our progress.”
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