- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) launched a campaign urging football fans in the county to ‘make us proud’ by drinking responsibly, being polite and avoiding trouble. Heavy drinking mixed with group pressure and the emotion-charged atmosphere that major football events create can lead to people behaving out of character and turn minor incidents into violent confrontations, says the force.
Police advice is featured on GMP Euro 2012 wall planners that contain all the fixtures, dates and times allowing fans to keep a running record of how the competition is progressing. They are available for fans to download and print free from the Forces website on www.gmp.police.uk or by scanning the QR code on your smartphone.
Chief Inspector Chris Hill who is leading on any policing issues arising out of the tournament in Greater Manchester said: “Like football fans across Europe I await the start of this competition with eager anticipation. It is one of the major highlights of this year’s sporting calendar and brings joy and anguish in equal measure to fans across the continent. It also provides challenges to police as the supercharged atmosphere it creates fuelled with excessive drinking can lead to outbursts of violence sometimes with tragic consequences.
“People can be assured that we will be closely monitoring potential trouble spots and will intervene robustly at an early stage to tackle offenders intent on spoiling what should be a safe and happy celebration of football for everyone to enjoy.
“By showing respect and consideration for other football fans and members of the public we can all make Euro 2012 memorable for all the right reasons.”
Meanwhile nearly 300 licensed premises were visited across Greater Manchester on Friday and Saturday, May 25 and 26, as part of Operation Thinksafe Drinksafe that comes in response to public concern about violent crime and disorder in town centres linked to excessive drinking. While most were found to be complying with their license conditions, there were some significant results including three voluntary closures, one forced closure and 14 arrests were made for drugs and other alcohol-related offences.
GMP Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “We all have a responsibility to ensure that a night out is a good experience and does not escalate into drunken violence that compromises people’s safety. We want people to enjoy the vibrant nightlife in Greater Manchester, but to do it responsibly, and avoid trouble by walking away. It is also important to ensure that violence is not acceptable behaviour as even minor outbursts can have devastating outcomes – one drunken wild punch or shove can have lasting consequences, and can even kill.
“We are determined to help responsible landlords who refuse to serve those that are underage or those that have clearly drunk too much. We will support them in putting the safety of those enjoying their hospitality first as well as meeting their legal obligations.
Binge drinking also puts health at risk and in extreme circumstances can require admittance to Accident and Emergency departments putting pressure on already stretched emergency services.
Derek Cartwright, Director of Emergency Services for NW Ambulance Service said: ‘Many people do not realise that when ambulance assistance is required as a result of incidents relating to alcohol consumption and associated anti-social behavior, they can be delayed in getting to people that really need our help. We urge people to think first, drink sensibly and remain aware of their actions so they can enjoy themselves in good spirit and, essentially, keep ambulances free to attend to those with serious life threatening conditions.’
Officers say there has been a general downward trend for violent crime in Greater Manchester over the past five years, showing a 10 per cent decrease when comparing 2007 and 2011. However, public concern and a one per cent increase in 2011 over the previous year are now driving their determination to tackle violent crime.
“Unfortunately, it is just a small minority of people who, when they drink to excess, find themselves in violent situations and spoil it for the majority. It’s these people we’re encouraging to think about their behaviour, the consequences of it and to avoid getting involved by walking away from trouble,” added Mr Hopkins.
In Lancashire, Assistant Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, who will head up that force’s policing operation during the tournament, said: “Everybody is looking forward to the football and rightly so – it’s a big event and we all want to be able to enjoy it.
“It will be our job to make sure that everyone can enjoy it safely and that those who want to have a drink, do so responsibly. There will be extra officers on the street – not because of any intelligence to suggest disorder, but purely because of the number of people expected to be out and about in the pubs and clubs watching the various matches.
“We want to see a carnival atmosphere with good natured fun; and if we see anything less – anyone acting in a violent or anti-social manner for example – they will be dealt with swiftly.”