World Cup plans to stop hooligans

Mar. 11, 2006

A crackdown on English football hooligans at the World Cup will see 44 uniformed UK police in Germany, and eight officers in bordering countries.

Some will have the same powers as German police, the Home Office said.

There will also be plain-clothes "spotters" deployed in the host nation, and prosecutors will be sent to gather evidence to use in British courts.

There are more than 3,000 banning orders preventing known troublemakers from travelling to Germany.

Football 'celebration'

From 1 June, four German police officers will be working in the UK. They will have no powers but will work alongside UK police to screen fans in the run-up to the event.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke stressed that banning orders on fans would be rigorously enforced.

He said English and German police and authorities have the leading relationship in Europe in combating hooliganism.

"The German slogan for the World Cup is 'time to make friends' and that's how we want to see this tournament going," he said.

"We want it to be a celebration of football, an expression of the modern relationship between Germany and Britain."

Asked how the German police would respond to fans using the banned Nazi salute or humming the Dambusters theme, he urged England fans to respect the laws of the country.


He said Germany had laws banning Nazi symbols "because the era we're talking about was one of total horror.

"It's not a joke, it's not a comic thing to do, it is deeply insulting and wrong.

"Anyone that's thinking it might be entertaining to get involved in this kind of thing, I would urge them not to do so."

Culture secretary Tessa Jowell said the co-ordinated UK and German anti-hooliganism effort was the result of several years' work.

She said the aim was to enable real fans to travel to the tournament with their "heads held high", while alcohol and public order laws would be strictly enforced at home.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Thomas said there would be 79 police officers involved the operation including 44 uniformed police in Germany, 8 police officers based in transit countries, 3 officers working with the Crown Prosecution Service and 23 intelligence officers.

But he admitted that while talks were in an advanced stage with Frankfurt authorities about how the city will deal with England fans flocking to the city to watch the games, no such discussions had taken place with the other two group game cities, Cologne and Nuremburg.

For the first time, a team of four prosecutors from the Crown Prosecution Service will go to Germany to gather evidence to be used in English courts

Dealt with

Chief Crown prosecutor Nick Hawkins, leading the CPS effort on football hooliganism, said: "We are first and foremost football fans, we hope we are going to be the most underemployed people in Germany."

He stressed that anyone who brought themselves to the attention of German authorities would be dealt with on their return.

The uniformed British officers working with German Federal police at airports and on the transport system will have same the powers as German police officers, but those working in venue cities will not.

More than 100,000 England fans are expected to travel to Germany for the tournament in June and July.

Kevin Miles from the Football Supporters Federation told BBC News it was important to have high profile policing with minimal confrontation.

"What we look for is... a police force that are friendly and welcoming towards people, who anticipate problems and nip things in the bud before they get out of proportion, as opposed to a more confrontational style which seems to treat the entire supporters group as a potential problem."

Mr Miles said he didn't expect there to be any trouble this year, on the basis of the last couple of tournaments.

"Certainly the banning orders have had an impact. It reassures the host police forces that what they can expect is not troublemakers but people coming to enjoy themselves," he said.

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