This month is the start of the World Cup and pre-tournament international friendly matches have begun, so for the next few week`s there will be a lot of socialising and interest in this event.
Major tournaments of this kind always increase the demand on policing and football is a sport which can attract some problems and it is important for the police resources to be ready to respond to this demand.
The problems are certainly caused by a minority and usually there is quite a feel-good factor when international sport is played – especially if England do well!
Unfortunately, there is the negative side which is seen too and there are those who will see it as an occasion to drink and drunkenness can lead to incidents of public order, so there will need to be a higher presence of police patrols to deter this and to reassure the public.
Public order incidents are what most people will think about when they consider people gathering in the town bars and clubs, but domestic abuse is something which increases too, but this is largely hidden from view, but the police need to be focussed on this and be ready to respond to this increase in demand and safeguard those at risk.
Domestic abuse does tend to increase with large football tournaments and alcohol plays a big part in this – so too do the results.
Generally, there are probably not too many homes where domestic incidents will occur where the police have not already had an involvement, but it is those homes where there have already been domestic incidents where there is an increased risk of something happening, which often is alcohol fuelled.
The police already have an effective system for dealing with domestic incidents, but it is the increase in demand which needs to be planned for so that all victims are offered the same excellent service and protection which already exists.
It is not just the police who will face an increase in demand; the courts will too in terms of prosecutions and protective court orders, such as Domestic Violence Protection Orders, which are separate hearings to keep a perpetrator away from the victim.
Support services will also be challenged in the same way, including charities, such as the You Trust, who support victims.
I don`t wish to paint a picture that football is strongly related to violence at home or in public, but there is a link and experience will show that there is an increase in demand, so it is important that this is catered for.
The World Cup begins at a time when there are many more large events, such as music festivals. In addition, President Trump has announced his visit to the UK, which will place an enormous strain on police resources, with annual leave for this period already on hold.
Having the right resources in place at the right time and also being in a position to remain available for the day to day running of police services is a challenge and inevitably there will be periods where some of the lower priority calls will need to wait a bit longer during times of high demand, so there will need to be a realisation from the public that this may happen and for patience to be exercised.
PC 1860 Mark Ranola.
Farnborough Police Office.