‘Zero tolerance’ of football violence

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POLICE will be operating a zero-tolerance policy on troublemakers during Euro 2012.

Extra officers were drafted in to patrol the town centre on Monday night during England’s first game of the tournament against France.

Some had given up rest days to ensure a high visibility presence as fans congregated in town centre pubs to watch the clash, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

And Spalding police’s tactics paid off as the evening passed without trouble.

Sgt Stuart Hurst said: “We are stepping up patrols to prevent any clashes between fans during the tournament.

“I think people were surprised to see so many officers in town.

“We want everyone to enjoy Euro 2012 in the knowledge we will be there to keep the streets safe.”

Sgt Hurst has also warned that football fever is not an excuse for domestic violence.

National research has suggested that there was a significant surge in domestic violence during the 2010 World Cup.

This included a rise of 27 per cent when England beat Slovenia, and a rise of 29 per cent when England lost to Germany.

Paula Hall, a counsellor for Relate, said: “Football doesn’t cause domestic abuse but it’s an issue which in some relationships can compound it.”

She said arguments about the amount of television watched, alcohol intake, jealousy due to people spending more time with friends and an increase in money spent could lead to an increase in tensions.

But, for victims of abuse, Monday’s result against France was good news, as the research suggests there is no surge in domestic violence when England draw.

Sgt Hurst said: “I only have anecdotal evidence of this surge in domestic abuse but it suggests that people who follow the football, who demographically tend to be men, can get upset when their teams lose and take it out on whoever is around at the time, be that wives, partners, family or children.

“We don’t tolerate – and during my time in the police we have never tolerated – abusive behaviour towards others and will deal robustly with offenders.”