An increased police presence for England games and a crack down on misuse of social media are among the steps being taken by Lincolnshire Police over the FIFA World Cup.
The play gets underway in Brazil today (Thursday, June 12) and Lincolnshire Police has been assessing how the tournament is likely to affect the county’s communities.
Asst Chief Constable Lee Freeman is leading the county’s World Cup policing operation and said the force’s aim would be to ‘promote community cohesion’ and ‘protect all communities’.
He said: “We have been engaging with local authorities, licensing departments, licensees and venues to establish their thoughts and intentions regarding opening hours and the ‘live’ screening of matches and our use of resources has been planned accordingly.”
He added: “The force and our partners will ensure that appropriate measures are taken to minimise the risk of violence and anti-social behaviour before during and after relevant matches.
“We will endeavour to make sure that the public of Lincolnshire, whether interested in the football tournament or not, are able to continue with their normal daily lives with the minimum of disruption.”
This, he said, would include an increased police presence for England games.
England’s first game is against Italy on Saturday at 11pm. However, Asst Chief Constable Freeman said the timing of the fixture was not of particular concern to police.
“It doesn’t cause us any particular problems. How we see it is as a normal policing weekend with some additional resources,” he said.
Asst Chief Constable Freeman said police are also encouraging the responsible use of social media, adding it would take action against hate crime, giving homophobia and xenophobia as examples.
He said: “Any communication identified by or reported to Lincolnshire Police, suspected of being contrary to law, will lead to appropriate police action.”
An additional step being taken by police in light of the World Cup is to tackle the potential for domestic violence.
Asst Chief Constable Freeman said research has shown that there is a tendency for an increase in domestic abuse during international football tournaments, usually heightened during match days.
Previous figures, he said, suggest an increase in reported domestic abuse offences of up to 27 per cent on match days, with alcohol known to be a contributory factor.
He said: “In planning the force response to policing the World Cup 2014, we have anticipated an increase in domestic abuse and are undertaking both a preventative and proactive approach.”
He added: “Lincolnshire Police do not wish to discourage or prevent people from enjoying themselves but they must be aware of the impact they are having on other people. We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour or violence.
“Anyone suspected of committing a criminal offence should expect to be arrested and to be put before the courts.”