Footy louts face town centre 'red card'
11 June 2012
WEST Midlands Police is encouraging England football fans to enjoy Euro 2012 when the national team kicks-off its campaign on Monday.
But the force has warned that anyone causing trouble whilst watching games at venues across the region faces being arrested and banned from town or city centres on match-days for the duration of the tournament.
Dispersal orders give officers power to move on people they believe to be drunk and an anti-social behaviour risk…and forbid them from returning to the area for up to 48 hours.
And anyone arrested could be handed bail conditions which make venues screening matches a no-go zone for the whole of June.
Football Unit Inspector Howard Lewis-Jones, said: "Recent overseas tournaments have shown that the vast majority of fans are well behaved and passionate about supporting their team.
"And most people cheering the team on from home want to enjoy the matches and celebrate the event – but anyone jeopardising that through poor behaviour will be dealt with appropriately.
"That could involve them being subject to bail conditions stopping them from watching matches in venues screening the games or from entire town centres.
"Our licensing teams work closely with pubs and clubs and, through the Pubwatch scheme, anyone barred from one pub risks exclusion from all others participating in the initiative."
In Wolverhampton, officers working with pub landlords will be handing out 'yellow cards' to anyone caught acting in an anti-social manner with a second warning resulting in a 'red card' that bars them from certain venues.
And Insp Lewis-Jones warned that anyone convicted of a football-related offence – even whilst watching matches on TV – risks being made subject of a Football Banning Order.
He said: "People may think that banning orders are only given to people who misbehave in football stadiums – but a football-related offence includes fighting in a pub or committing criminal damage whilst watching a game in a pub."
Football Banning Orders ban offenders from all football grounds in the country and from travelling abroad for England international games.
West Midlands Police is one of few UK forces to have a specialist Football Unit.
Three of the team are now in Poland and Ukraine to help support the policing operation around England supporters, whilst others will be based at Birmingham Airport during June on the look-out for potential troublemakers trying to make their way to the tournament.
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