Daily updates from 44 police forces across England and Wales (including British Transport Police) have identified a concerning rise in the level of disorder following England games. As of today, 456 football-related incidents have been reported to police, with 87 arrests made.
This is in stark comparison to only a handful of isolated incidents from fans in Russia, and only one arrest. National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Football Policing Lead DCC Mark Roberts said:
“We have been really pleased with the behaviour of fans in Russia, they have helped to create a friendly and celebratory atmosphere, and they can be proud of the way they have conducted themselves so far.
“There has been a handful of incidents, including one minor scuffle in Poland ahead of the match in Kaliningrad. What was so great is other fans stepped in to resolve it without the need for police intervention, and those involved were booed for causing trouble. It is clear the fans we have seen do not want their current reputation tarnished and are doing their best to keep the good-natured atmosphere going. We may have more fans deciding to head out to support the team, and we would ask them to continue to reflect this behaviour.
“What we are seeing instead is mindless individuals back home causing the trouble. We have had reports of blocked roads, people jumping onto moving cars, and high levels of disorder, with some involving up to 200 people. These incidents are linked to licensed premises and are clearly alcohol-fuelled.
“We don’t see this type of behaviour around other equivalent sporting fixtures, nor do other sports require the need for specific legislation to prevent disorder. Consider the disorder in Marseilles, and most recently Amsterdam and compare that to when our other national teams play at home or away. There is a history linked to football disorder and it needs to change. This places significant demand on already busy police forces – we want people to enjoy themselves and celebrate, just not in a way that drains police resources.
“Forces are also monitoring the number of domestic-abuse incidents following football matches to get a better understanding of the levels of current demand and help with preventative measures for the future. So far, we have had 111 football-related incidents of domestic abuse, which includes incidents of verbal abuse and arguments, together with more serious offences including assault.”
DCC Louisa Rolfe, NPCC’s Lead for domestic abuse said:
“Football does not cause domestic abuse but studies have shown that incidents reported to the police increase when our national team plays. During the 2010 World Cup, cases of domestic abuse rose by 25 per cent after an England match, win lose or draw. Our job is to protect victims and secure justice for them – any report of abuse will be taken seriously.”
Incident and arrest details connected to the World Cup will continue to be monitored throughout the tournament to create a full picture of policing demand, and to better inform future resourcing and preventative activity.
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