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Police have already kicked off their preparations for the Euro 2012 Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine. Senior officers from Northumbria Police and Durham Constabulary have written to fans who will have football banning orders during the competition to remind them of their obligations. These supporters have been warned that they will be given the red card if they try to flout their ban.
They will be required to surrender their passports and report to their designated police stations ahead of the tournament. Their passports will remain in police possession until the competition ends on Sunday, July 1. Anyone who fails to comply will be arrested and prosecuted for breaching their banning orders.
Northumbria Police currently has 107 people – 38 Sunderland fans and 69 Newcastle fans – who this may affect. Eighteen of these fans live in the Durham force area, and Durham Constabulary has a further 12 orders of its own.
During 2011 Northumbria Police made 39 arrests for breaching a football banning order, and Durham made two. The arrests were almost entirely carried out when fans had failed to attend their police stations and surrender their passports when required.
Northumbria Police’s Superintendent Gillian Mitchell said: “Football Banning Orders are there to prevent those intent on causing violence or disorder from attending matches, meaning that genuine fans can go to a game and watch it safely. These arrests show that we will always enforce banning orders and will take action against anyone failing to comply – they will not slip through the net.”
Football banning orders can range from three to 10 years and are issued to prevent violence or disorder at football matches.
As well as preventing individuals from attending regulated football matches and the requirement to surrender passports, individuals must also inform the Football Banning Orders Authority of any change of address.
PC Amanda Holland, football liaison officer with Durham Police, said: “Football banning orders have been a very effective measure and played a significant part in helping curb trouble at matches.
“By working together with our neighbouring forces we can ensure the orders are in place and remain effective.”