'Plan ahead and stay safe' - police advice for football fans today

By Philippa Davies

3rd Jul 2021 | Local News

Extra police will be on duty in local town centres tonight as football fans gather to watch England's quarter-final against the Ukraine in the Euros.

Police are asking the public to respect the Covid guidelines, and be aware that officers will be on the lookout for drunken anti-social behaviour.

Superintendent Adrian Leisk said: "Everyone is excited with the national team's progress following the historic win over Germany, and many are already making plans to watch the match on Saturday night in the home with family and friends, or in our bars and pubs across the region.

"So far, the tournament has been a great success; people have behaved themselves and I wish to thank our licensees across Devon and Cornwall who have worked closely with us to deliver a safe match day experience for all. We expect the pubs and bars to be full this Saturday night, albeit operating with a reduced capacity due to social distancing rules and the rule of six that remains in place.

"Business owners, police and partner agencies across the region are doing their part to keep you safe. We ask the public to support us with this, so please plan ahead by taking a lateral flow test, booking a table and your transport home if you are watching the game out in town, remember to wear your mask unless exempt and adhere to social distancing."

"Most people just want to enjoy the football and support their team. Which is why the police are being clear that alcohol is not an excuse for bad behaviour.

"Businesses and residents alike share our frustrations when it comes to anti-social behaviour, which is why those who think that using the match as an excuse to cause violent disorder run the risk of being arrested."

With the delay in the Government moving into Step 4 of its roadmap out of lockdown, it is expected that many will still choose to watch the match at home on Saturday night. Police are reminding everyone to follow Covid-19 guidelines, which means limiting the number of people you meet indoors to a maximum of two households or up to six people from different households.

People can also meet others outside, such as private gardens or public spaces, but this is capped at 30 people.

Remember the Covid guidelines - and show respect

Supt Leisk continued: "We are seeing a steep rise in Coronavirus cases across the country and it is imperative we all do our bit to limit the spread of the virus.

"Before meeting please consider taking a lateral flow test which you can order for free from the Government website and get the all-clear before leaving the house or meeting other people.

"Please wash your hands regularly, give each other space and throw open windows and doors to provide fresh air if you are watching together at someone's home."

"Ultimately, what the police expect is for those watching the game to be sensible and plan ahead. There is no excuse for drink-driving following the match or getting behind the wheel the following morning when still over the limit; rest assured that we will be taking a robust stance in dealing with any perpetrators who decide to drive when drunk.

"Lastly, please respect those who are working hard to keep you safe whether that be door staff, taxi or bus drivers, bar staff, or any of the blue light services, as well as your neighbours or residents who live in the town and city centres you may be visiting – if we all work together then Saturday night could be something memorable and for all the right reasons."

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