The London Metropolitan Police (MET) are planning house calls to designated “football hooligans” who haven’t turned in their passports ahead of the UEFA European Football Championship (EURO 2012) scheduled from June 8 through July 1.
Fans subject to football banning orders were sent letters instructing them to turn their passports in to local police stations within 10 days of the start of Euro 2012. Wednesday is the last day before Met police go knocking on doors to arrest the 64 Londoners who have yet to show up.
“Don’t expect a knock on the door come tea time. It’ll be early morning, you’ll end up in court, and you’ll likely receive an extension on your banning order,” said Met Chief Inspector Audrey Shannon.
Banning orders are issued by courts following a conviction of a football-related crime or complaint. A person issued an order is banned from attending football games in the UK and abroad. Usually persons subject to a banning order are required to turn in their passport and regularly check in to a local police station. For Euro 2012, the Met feels having passports will suffice.
The Home Office says banning orders are particularly effective because “they stop fans from doing the thing they love most--attending a football match.” The bans last from three to 10 years, and a violation could mean up to six months in prison.
“By the time their order expires, their behaviour has usually transformed. In 92 percent of cases, the person is felt by the police to no longer pose a risk,” says a Home Office fact sheet on football banning orders.
The Home Office, the UK's governmental body that oversees security, reported that football arrests were at a record low for the 2010-2011 season. Arrests dropped from 3,391 to 3,089 and the number of people under banning orders dropped from 3,248 to 3,173.
Last month, two brothers were banned three years and five years for being “abusive and aggressive towards stewards and acting in a disruptive and obstructive manner,” and putting up a fight when police came to eject them from the Arsenal vs. Man City match.
“The football ban should send a clear message that police will not tolerate disruptive behaviour, before, during or after any matches,” said Met Football Investigations Officer PC Lucy McAuley-Burnett in a press release about the incident.
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