Review launched into policing of Scotland football matches

The UK’s most senior officer with responsibility for football has been tasked with carrying out an independent review of policing matches in Scotland.

Oct 3, 2018
By Joe Shine
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts will lead the review

West Yorkshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the national lead on football, will look into operational planning for games, intelligence gathering and resource deployment.

The review, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, will also seek views from supporters, clubs and stakeholders on how they feel about the policing of matches.

Mr Roberts oversaw policing of England fans in Russia during the Fifa World Cup this summer.

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr insisted the review was not launched following a “particular incident or match”.

He added: “Police Scotland has an enviable reputation around how it polices large events, including sporting events such as the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games.

“It is important, however, for a learning organisation such as Police Scotland to reflect on areas where we may be able to improve our procedures and learn from good practice elsewhere.

“I am very grateful that DCC Roberts has agreed to carry out this important review. I’m keen that he is able to speak to a number of stakeholders involved in football matches, from the Scottish Football Association to Scottish Professional Football League right through to supporters’ groups and football clubs.”

The announcement comes after Scottish Police Federation General Secretary Calum Steele criticised a decision to schedule both Scottish League Cup semi-finals on the same day.

On October 28, Aberdeen will play Rangers at Hampden Park in Glasgow before Celtic face Hearts.

Mr Steele branded the decision “simply idiotic”, citing concerns that police resources will be stretched to their limit.

Aberdeen and Hearts are also upset with the scheduling, as they worry about how their supporters will get to and from Glasgow on a Sunday, when public transport offers a reduced service.

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