Euro 2020: Northamptonshire Police zero-tolerance approach to trouble-makers during tonight's England-Scotland showdown
Officers on alert for revellers, hate crime and domestic abuse during tournament
Police chiefs say extra officers will be visting Northamptonshire's pubs and clubs before, during and after tonight's England-Scotland Euro 2020 showdown.
Venues showing games on TV were packed for the Three Lions 1-0 win over Croatia last Sunday — and the Tartan Army's 2-0 defeat by the Czech Republic on Monday which made tonight's 8pm Wembley clash make-or-break for Steve Clarke's side.
Head of Central Operations, Superintendent Tom Thompson, said having more officers out will ensure frustrated would-be revellers don’t cause issues in town centres, public spaces such as parks, or at house parties.
Supt Thompson — who is leading the Northants policing response to Euro 2020 — added: “We will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to those who think they can use the tournament as an excuse to commit crime and create disorder.
“Competitiveness between those supporting different teams is natural but anyone crossing the line and using football to commit a hate crime, including online, will be dealt with robustly.
“Likewise, whether your team under performs and doesn’t get the result you were hoping for – there’s never an excuse to take out your frustrations on a loved one. Domestic abuse and protecting vulnerable people are a priority and this will not change during the tournament."
Boris Johnson's decision to delay Freedom Day by four weeks, made to dampen down a rise in coronavirus cases, means will limits remain in place around indoor hospitality.
Northamptonshire's increased police presence in town centres will continue throughout the tournament and beyond — all the way to July 19 following the government’s announcement that Covid-19 restrictions will stay in place beyond June 21.
And last weekend was already the busiest in a while for officers in Northampton town centre with reports of large gatherings, multiple fights and serious assaults on Saturday night.
Superintendent Adam Ward, who leads on night-time economy policing for the Force, admitted: "We know many people are likely to be very disappointed at this necessary delay to the lifting of Covid rules.
“We’re still going to have double the usual number of officers on duty over the next few days and the weekend, to help make sure that everything happens safely and within the ongoing coronavirus legislation.
“If you’re going to be heading out, please stick to the rule of six indoors, or 30 outdoors, follow the Covid-19 measures in place in venues, and behave responsibly and safely.
"If you don’t, our officers will be ready and waiting for you."