UK police chief leads World Cup team in England and Russia

Northern Constabulary Force Helicopter 1998 - by Dave Conner via Flickr

UK police chief leads World Cup team in England and Russia

There has been extensive engagement with a Russian police delegation visiting a number of high profile UK matches to help gain an understanding of policing tactics and the behaviour of English football fans.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Football Policing Lead, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts said:

“We have a good relationship with Russian police, developed from working together on a number of previous, high-profile football tournaments and matches.  We are continuing to support them in delivering a safe World Cup.

“We will have officers in the UK and Russia gathering intelligence, so any fans seen to be misbehaving could be subject to a football banning order on their return to the UK as well as facing action in Russia.

“It is the responsibility of the host nation to ensure the safety of visitors to their country. A UK policing team will work with local counterparts in each of the host cities where England is playing, to identify known risk supporters, engage with UK supporters and advise the local police on appropriate tactics to manage the travelling England fans.

“We want to provide genuine fans with as much advice and information ahead of the tournament, so they can make an informed decision about where they go, how they behave and what they do when they get there.

“We would urge anyone travelling to sign up to the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and to refer to their ‘Be on the Ball’ campaign and the Football Supporters Federation guidebook to understand how they can be good guests in Russia.”

In the UK, 1800 fans subject to football banning orders surrendered their passports as part of the police operation to prevent known troublemakers travelling to the competition.  A nationally coordinated policing operation at ports is also in place with experienced officers deployed to identify and prevent high-risk individuals from travelling before and during the tournament.  Officers will also be there to engage with genuine fans as they set off.

DCC Roberts continued: “The UK has considerable experience of football-related policing.

“The vast majority of England supporters travelling to Russia will be genuine fans, who simply want to enjoy the football. They do not pose a risk to the safety or security of the tournament.

“There is no excuse for violence, disorder or anti-social behaviour at football matches.  Troublemakers will be dealt with by Russian police in line with their laws and can expect a banning order on return to the UK.

“Our advice to fans is to make use of the travel advice, be aware of local culture and customs – which could differ around the country – and ultimately have a safe and enjoyable World Cup.”