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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Euro 2020 police operation begins with passport surrender

Patrol car

Police are stepping up their preparations for the start of the European Football Championships next week.

And that includes dozens of people subject to football banning orders (FBO) having to hand in their passports ahead of the deadline on June 14-15. Failure to surrender their passport can lead to an arrest warrant being issued.

Specialist football officers will be working throughout the tournament engaging with supporters and patrol plans are being put in place.

Euro 2020 was due to place last summer but was postponed due to COVID-19. For the first time the tournament is being held across 12 host cities, rather than by a single or joint-host countries, with matches across the continent, including in the UK at Glasgow’s Hampden Park and London’s Wembley Stadium.

The opening match of Euro 2020 will be held in Rome between Italy and Turkey on Friday 11 June, with England’s campaign kicking off in London against World Cup finalists Croatia two days later.

England’s three group stage games will all be played at Wembley but if they progress to the knockout stages their last-16 tie could be held outside of the UK. None of the quarter-final matches are due to be staged in this country, but the semi-finals and final will be played at Wembley in the week commencing Monday 5 July.

Across the force area, we have 42 people subject to FBOs, of which 33 are passport holders and will be required to surrender their passports, Letters have already been sent to them to remind them of this. The passports will remain with the police until after the last quarter-final match is played on Saturday 3 July.

What is a FBO and how do long they last?

A banning order prevents attendance at any regulated match for a period of between three and five years – if the individual is not subjected to a custodial sentence.

For those who are imprisoned, the banning order extends to a period of between six and 10 years.

Other conditions requested on a FBO may include exclusion zones around stadia before and after home fixtures, plus a day-long ban on travel to towns and cities, where away matches are being played.

While some FBOs are issued for disorder at matches, we’d like to remind fans they can receive them for incidents committed away from stadiums. For example, anyone going to watch a match on a television at a public showing, such as a pub, who becomes embroiled in any form of antisocial or violent behaviour, could find themselves with a FBO. It also includes drink-driving or domestic abuse offences linked to football.

Those that were involved in the disorder in Bristol during the World Cup 2018 and received FBOs also have conditions that prevent them from visiting certain areas in the hours before and after televised England matches.

Fans will be allowed to attend matches in person during the tournament but capacity numbers at venues will be capped due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Across the country we are seeing a big increase in flares and other pyrotechnics at football-related gatherings; this has on occasions resulted in spectators receiving life-changing injuries from such devices, We’d like to remind people the danger such items can pose and that they could be contravening the law by taking them to public arenas under Fireworks Regulations 2004.

Chief Inspector Debbie Palmer-Lawrence said: “After a year of waiting for the tournament to take place, we hope it will be a successful one.

“We want fans to enjoy themselves but ask them to be mindful of their behaviour. We will not tolerate any football-related antisocial behaviour or violence and will deal robustly with such offenders.”