Police chief in main role at soccer event
APOLICE chief is to play a key role in cracking down on violence at the Euro 2016 football tournament.
Millions of football fans from across Europe are converging on the country to enjoy a feast of football festivities.
Violence marred England’s first match against Russia in Marseilles with fans clashing both inside and outside the stadium and the football associations of both countries being warned over their supporters’ conduct.
Working away behind the scenes is Cheshire’s own Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts, who is the National Police Chief’s Council ( NPCC) national football policing lead.
ACC Roberts is the police ‘Gold’ commander for the UK support being provided to the French policing operation.
During the coming weeks, ACC Roberts will split his time between France and London, where the operation room is at The Oval.
He said: “We’ve got 250,000 tickets allocated to the UK and fans will also be trying to source them in France, so we’re looking at up to 500,000 supporter trips from the UK – it’s a massive operation.
“There are around 2,000 people with banning orders and, of those, 1,500 have been ordered to surrender their passports. We’re now just mopping those who haven’t, and those who try to travel will be stopped.”
One of the key roles British officers will play is to advise the British fans and French police.
ACC Roberts said: “Sen- ior officers and a number of spotters are going out to the venues to work with the French, to speak to British supporters and to pass messages.
“The behaviour (of English and British fans) over recent major tournaments has actually been quite good.
“The majority of fans just want to have a good time and our aim is to keep them safe.
“There’s also the ongoing terror threat but they’re putting a massive security operation in place to make sure everyone stays safe and we’re there to support them in that aim.
“If anyone does misbehave we’ve got an investigation team on standby that will collate footage and will seek to impose banning orders on them as soon as they come back to this country.”
Before the tournament four football fans from Macclesfield – among 40 in Cheshire – who are banned from attending matches were ordered to surrender their passports so they can’t leave the country for Euro 2016.
●● Police keep an eye on England fans in Marseilles. Inset: Cheshire’s Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts