UK officers supporting French police for a trouble-free Euro 2016
With less than 20 days to go until the start of Euro 2016, football fever is starting to kick in. Fans are travelling to France to enjoy the football and mix with fellow supporters from across Europe but there is always a chance a small minority will engage in disorder. Police officers from across the UK will be travelling to France to work with French counterparts to ensure this doesn’t ruin the tournament for everyone else.
For the first time in over 50 years three home nations will be competing in a major tournament with millions watching the matches across the UK and France. It’s expected that between 300,000 and 500,000 fans from England, Northern Ireland and Wales will make the trip to France to get behind their teams.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Football Policing, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts said:
“More fans are expected to travel to France than any previous tournament and we are working with the French police for a trouble-free competition. Our officers will be supporting the French authorities by providing intelligence, identifying known risk supporters, engaging with UK supporters and advising the local police on appropriate tactics with visiting fans. This joint approach has been very successful in the past.
“The vast majority of supporters from England, Northern Ireland and Wales will be genuine fans who are travelling to France to enjoy the football and our policing team will provide a reassuring presence at venue cities.
“There is no excuse for violence, disorder or anti-social behaviour at football matches – troublemakers will be dealt with by French police in line with their laws and can expect a banning order on return to the UK.”
Work has already begun to prevent known trouble-makers from planning trips to the competition. Nearly 2000 people across the UK who are subject to football banning orders have been contacted by authorities to surrender their passports by June 1. All police forces will be running proactive operations for those who don’t comply by this date.
A large scale operation at UK ports will run throughout the tournament across 27 locations with experienced officers on hand to identify and prevent high risk individuals travelling.
ACC Roberts continued:
“The level of crime and disorder associated with the game in the UK has significantly dropped. Legislation and banning orders have worked in reducing the risk of violence and hooliganism at matches with fewer football related arrests over the past 6 international tournaments.”
If there are any incidents of disorder or anti-social behaviour during the tournament, officers in France and the UK will be gathering intelligence to identify those supporters. This could result in them being subject to a football banning order on their return to the UK as well as being potentially charged for an offence in France.
Notes for editors:
Operation Novella is a large scale policing operation which aims to reduce the likelihood of disorder and anti-social behaviour involving UK supporters.
The French authorities are responsible for security at the Tournament. It is usual for UK police to liaise with organisers of large events across the world about security threats including from terrorism and the Euro's are no different. Questions about security should be directed to the French authorities.
The policing team heading to France will consist of the following:
Gold commander – Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts Silver commander – Chief Superintendent Steve Graham, British Embassy Support Silver commander – Chief Superintendent Steve Neill, England Silver commander – Superintendent Nigel Goddard, Northern Ireland Silver commander – Superintendent Steve Furnham, Wales
Each silver commander who is charge of a national team will be directly supported by football spotters/ supporter liaison officers.
A second team for each of England, Wales and Northern Ireland will work from the International Police Coordination Centre (near Paris) to facilitate the flow of intelligence. These teams will provide the link back to the UK, and support to French law enforcement agencies and their relevant national mobile police team.
Passports of those on banning orders must be surrendered by May 31 and June 1. There are currently 1929 individuals on banning orders who will be subjected to passport surrender conditions. This figure is dynamic and will be subject to change between now and the beginning of the tournament. Almost all of the individuals who will surrender their passports, would have received their banning order due to incidents at domestic games.
Those who are subject of a ban will have to hand in their passports to local police and must remain in the UK for the duration of the tournament.
Any person who breaches their banning order commits an offence and if convicted could face a six month custodial sentence, a fine of up to £5,000 and receive a further banning order.
The ports operation will begin June 6.
The officers will have no powers of arrest when deployed abroad, however if British fans misbehave UK officers can gather intelligences to present to a UK court to apply for a football banning order.