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Euro 2020: Police forces deal with record number of football-related incidents after Wembley final

Euro 2020: Police forces deal with record number of football-related incidents after Wembley final

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Police forces across the country dealt with more than double the number of football-related incidents following the Euro 2020 final compared to any previous tournament matches.

The overwhelming majority of forces across England and Wales, including British Transport Police, saw an increase in demand overnight in relation to Sunday’s England v Italy fixture.

There were at least 875 incidents overall. This is more than double the number of incidents recorded in relation to matches at previous tournaments – including England’s World Cup semi-final clash with Croatia in 2018, when there were 335.

Following England’s last 16 match against Iceland in Euro 2016, only 57 incidents were reported.

Police detain a fan outside Wembley
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Police detain a fan outside Wembley
A flare is set off in front of police near Leicester Square in London. Pic: AP
Image:
A flare is set off in front of police near Leicester Square in London. Pic: AP

Of the reported incidents last night, some 496 occurred at licensed premises. There were 246 football-related arrests in total.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs Council’s football policing lead, said: “Although the result wasn’t what we hoped for last night, it’s absolutely no excuse for the appalling behaviour we have seen across the country.

“I’m extremely disappointed to note the significant increase in incidents compared to England fixtures at previous tournaments.

“After the year the country has had, I can understand people are eager to make the most of restrictions easing. However, there is no excuse for the violent and frightening behaviour of a sizeable minority who chose to drink to excess, or take drugs, and get involved in criminal acts.”

CC Roberts added: “Police forces up and down the country were well prepared for any increase in demand and incidents were dealt with robustly, but the scale of the issues clearly presented challenges.

“Nineteen officers in the Metropolitan Police were assaulted last night and there were many more officers injured in attacks across the country, which is concerning and should have no part in the country enjoying a sporting event.

“Our police officers are there to keep people safe. Being threatened or injured is not part of the job and any attacks on them will always be treated seriously.”

Police and fans outside Wembley for the Euro 2020 final
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Wembley hosted the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy

Last night’s figures bring the total number of incidents across the whole Euro 2020 tournament to 2,322, with 622 arrests. At the World Cup in 2018, there were 1,487 incidents reported across the whole tournament, and 337 arrests.

The UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) has also launched an investigation into racist hate that has been targeted at players online following the match.

CC Roberts said: “While we are all disappointed with the result, the England team have behaved impeccably and provided an excellent example in the way they have conducted themselves throughout. That is in sad contrast to the utterly vile comments posted on social media, racially abusing our own players following last night’s game. Investigations are under way to identify the offenders.

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“When a report is received in connection to Euro 2020, the details are sent to the UKFPU, where colleagues and the dedicated Euro 2020 investigation team assess the content.

“They are then promptly able to make initial enquiries to trace the perpetrator with assistance from the relevant social media company. We have had excellent support during the tournament from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and enquiries are already being progressed.

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“When an offender’s details are identified, this is passed onto the relevant local force to investigate further and take appropriate action in conjunction with the CPS.

“The UKFPU is also working closely with the FA, ensuring the relevant support is in place where needed.”

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