Sunday, 6 June 2010

Keep the Peace for the World Cup Summer

By Ben Aulakh

Pub landlord’s, bar owners and supermarket and shop owners in the West Midlands are being asked to help ensure that it’s a trouble free World Cup summer.

Licensing officers at each of the county’s 10 Local Policing Units want their area's businesses to play their part in ensuring a trouble-free tournament.

They have written to the people whose 'names are above the door' to remind them of their responsibility as England strive for glory in South Africa.

Inspector Howard Lewis-Jones from West Midlands Police said, “We want genuine football fans to enjoy the tournament in a pleasant environment in all our towns and cities.

"We have seen sporadic outbreaks of trouble where major England games have been shown before, but as a region our fans are increasingly heeding the message.

Police believe the eyes of the world will be on England in the coming weeks as FIFA deliberate over whether to award the country the 2018 tournament.

Insp Jones added, “The nature of football is that it is an emotional game, but getting drunk, getting involved in trouble and picking up a criminal record is a large price to pay on top of the wrong result.”

"If they can't and allow themselves to become involved in disorder either through drink or a misplaced sense of patriotism, then they can expect to be prosecuted."

Anybody caught causing trouble may receive an automatic banning order which could stop them watching their team for the next three years.

Police believe anything other than a festival of trouble-free football could scupper the country's bid to bring the World Cup here in 2018.

Police and the Safer Birmingham Partnership are hoping the message that they should enjoy the tournament peacefully gets through to everyone.

The two organisations have unveiled a Birmingham-wide poster campaign designed to ensure no one has any excuse not to enjoy the tournament safely.

The posters – bearing messages urging fans to drink responsibly – will appear on buses, in pubs, clubs and toilets as well as on beer mats.

One of the posters features a hung-over drinker behind bars with the iconic 1966 commentary – ‘They think it's all over…it is now.’ 

Pubs and bars showing the big games have been asked to ensure they have enough identifiable door staff to keep the peace, and that their CCTV is fully operational.

Shop and supermarket owners are also being asked to maintain a strict watch on selling alcohol to under age drinkers; with the possibility of the increased use of mystery test buyers during the tournament hanging over them. 

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