Sunday, June 16, 2024

Essex Police officers prepare for Euro 2024

TEAMS responsible for your safety during the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament are calling on fans across Essex to behave responsibly and look out for each other.

Policing plans will be in place across the county on each England matchday, scheduled to take place on Sunday 16 June, Thursday 20 June and Tuesday 25 June.

Of course, we all hope the team progresses into the tournament’s knockout stages and appropriate plans will be put in place for each subsequent England game – we hope the whole way up to the final on Sunday 14 July.

We know England’s drive to go all the way will be matched by public enthusiasm as bars and pubs welcome thousands of fans. 

This increased activity, coupled with the warm summer weather, can lead to an increase in the risk of public order incidents. 

That is why we’ve been planning ahead to ensure additional resources will be in place on matchdays. 
You will see officers at key locations in town and city centres across the county, and across our county’s roads. 

Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow said: “We know the vast majority of people turning out at fan zones, pubs and bars will be law-abiding fans with no interest in causing trouble. 

“But, particularly during the summer months, we know tournaments on this scale attract huge interest and venues across Essex are likely to be operating at increased capacity. 

“Alcohol, sun and football, when taken together, can mean increased crowds and a rise in the risk of public disorder and violence – and we’ll be there to tackle this threat. 

“More than anything else we are asking the public to watch and celebrate the tournament safely.

“Please do not to score an own goal by using it as an excuse to commit crime or cause trouble.

“We will have appropriate policing plans in place on each England matchday. 

“That means officers will be in town and city centres across the county to quickly respond to emergency calls, either at venues or in homes; it means there will be more officers on the roads ready to respond to reports of drink and drug driving.

“If you do use the event to take part in disorder or commit crime, we will take action.

“We have also been in touch with licensed premises across the county and they are aware of what is expected of them throughout the next month.”

Our officers know the increased risk of disorder stretches beyond town centres and continues on into homes across the county.

Domestic abuse is not solely connected to football and as in issue it remains a force-wide priority throughout the year. 

But we do know there is an increase in incidents throughout major tournaments.

Where we are called to incidents of a domestic nature, our priority will always be the safety and wellbeing of victims. 

We will always encourage them to be supportive of police action against the perpetrator.

But we also know that will not always be the case. Where we cannot secure an immediate charge against a perpetrator, we will proactively use the powers available to us in order to safeguard victims throughout the tournament. 

Where they don’t want to speak to us, we will ensure they are referred on to partner organisations.

We issue Domestic Violence Prevention Notices (DVPNs) to perpetrators who we have not yet received authorisation to charge but who we strongly suspect have been violent in the domestic setting.

These notices run for 48 hours and mean the perpetrator cannot return to the home in that time. Within 48 hours, a court hearing takes place where the notice is converted into a Domestic Violence Prevention Order. That order is then in place for 28 days. 

Throughout the tournament, where there is evidence that a domestic incident can be directly linked to football, officers will also compile evidence to submit to the Crown Prosecution Service which will consider asking the courts to apply a football banning order to convicted perpetrators. 

That would be in addition to any restraining orders or non-molestation orders imposed by the court. 
In order to do that, we will have to submit evidence to show a person is guilty of a “relevant offence”, which is laid out in the Football Spectators Act 1989, which includes “any assault”. 

The CPS and the courts will then have to decide whether there are reasonable grounds that applying the order would help prevent violence or disorder at or in connection with football matches. 

We are determined to work with our colleagues in the CPS in order to secure these orders where possible.
And just as with domestic incidents, we will take robust action against anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car after drinking or taking drugs.

Our Roads Policing Unit will lead our response by increasing high visibility patrols on all our roads, both strategic and rural: there will be no road that can be used to evade being caught. 

We have hundreds of police officers trained to take drug wipe tests at the side of the road, meaning you’re just as likely to get caught for drug driving.

A drink or drug driver could be arrested one day and find they are disqualified from driving at court the next day. 

The loss of your driving licence could have far-reaching consequences: it could mean the further loss of a job, your social life and your vehicle.

We will also be working closely with licensed premises and volunteer organisations across the county to ensure that our communities can support their local businesses safely.

We’re also asking anyone that sees someone become suddenly unwell on a night out to report it and seek 
help immediately.

If you’re worried about your own safety, you can also ‘Ask for Angela’ at the bar to alert staff.

Sadly, recent experience also tells us that we see a rise in hate crime during major tournaments.

A hate crime is defined as any incident which is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a personal characteristic – this can be disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Hate crimes of any sort, be it in person or online, are not tolerated in Essex and we will work hard with the CPS to bring offenders to justice.

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