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Watching Football Is Not A Crime! FSF/Liberty Campaign


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The ejection of myself, Mrs. S. and a group of well-behaved Latics supporters from a pub in Southend, after an hour’s drinking, with Police blessing, simply for supporting the wrong team, has been the subject of merriment on here, and I can live with that. But it’s the principle involved that made me and the others so indignant, and which embarrassed at least one Southend fan in the same pub.

 

Regular readers will know that one of my big grievances is that football supporters are treated like :censored:! We are the only group of citizens with our own Act of Parliament (the Football Spectators Act), which subjects us to controls, which would not be enforceable against people because of their race, sex, colour or belief.

 

Why are football supporters treated differently from other sports fans, pub-goers, theatre-goers, etc? All right-minded supporters welcome the law dealing with those who have been guilty of violent criminal offences, but unfortunately we are all treated as hooligans, which cannot be fair or right..

 

The massive Police presence at Huddersfield has already been said to be over the top. Police horses - what’s that about in this day and age? The road covered in horse muck - if it was dog muck, the owners would be prosecuted!

 

Recent experience shows that instead of weeding out and dealing with people who are the subjects of Police ‘intelligence’, groups of fans are all being treated the same - a sledge hammer to crack a nut! Read about what happened to Stoke City fans on their way to Old Trafford.

http://www.fsf.org.uk/news/Policing-of-Sto...us-concerns.php

and Plymouth Argyle fans on their way to Donny.

http://www.fsf.org.uk/news/Section-27-been-served-on-you.php

 

When trawling through t’internet, I came across this article from the Football Supporters’ Federation, which I recommend all supporters to read.

http://www.fsf.org.uk/campaigns/Watching-f...not-a-crime.php

 

LaticsLee knows only too well what can happen to you when supporting Latics, and full credit to Latics supporters for rallying round to clear his name.

 

I am pleased that the FSF and Liberty are running this Campaign to fight on behalf of more and more fans who have been served unfairly with orders under Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act, without the need for any evidence to be produced or for any crime to have been committed - it could be you next!

 

The article contains advice on Section 27, how you can challenge it and what you can do if served with an order.

 

I quote from an article in The Times in November 2008:

"Finally, I lurk from time to time on police message boards and following the Notting Hill Carnival this year there was a very interesting debate about how policing methods differed dependent on the event being policed. In short several officers felt that a more relaxed approach was taken at the Carnival compared to football, with one officer stating that he felt that due to a football crowd not being a specific ethnic minority group, senior management - and I quote, "have no problem treating them (football fans) like s**t and using aggressive tactics". If this is the case - and we have seen plenty of evidence that substantiates this view - then we need to challenge every incident until we're all treated fairly. We deserve better."

 

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I've touted the urban75.org website before Diego, but here it is again -

 

http://www.urban75.org/football/index.html

 

The bit under "Football Fans and the Law" is the most interesting given the circumstances, but the whole site is one that should be in everyones bookmarks.

 

Cheers,

Matt.

 

edit:

 

Plus RELEASE for bust cards etc - http://www.release.org.uk/

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I've touted the urban75.org website before Diego, but here it is again -

 

http://www.urban75.org/football/index.html

 

The bit under "Football Fans and the Law" is the most interesting given the circumstances, but the whole site is one that should be in everyones bookmarks.

 

Cheers,

Matt.

 

edit:

 

Plus RELEASE for bust cards etc - http://www.release.org.uk/

 

Thanks for that Matt. I knew you'd posted something similar previously

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Hey, Terry - just read this on U75...

 

Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 is designed to prevent potential 'alcohol-related disorder' and gives the police powers to move individuals on from a specified area for up 48 hours. The police serving the order need to have good reason and evidence to support their assertion that you are likely to cause alcohol-related crime or disorder (just being in a pub is not just cause).

 

If you're are told to move on from the locality, the police can specify the means and route, although the law fails to define 'locality,' so they could force you to travel a considerable distance.

 

http://www.urban75.org/football/football-section-27.html

 

http://www.urban75.com/Action/index2.html

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Hey, Terry - just read this on U75...

 

Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 is designed to prevent potential 'alcohol-related disorder' and gives the police powers to move individuals on from a specified area for up 48 hours. The police serving the order need to have good reason and evidence to support their assertion that you are likely to cause alcohol-related crime or disorder (just being in a pub is not just cause).

 

If you're are told to move on from the locality, the police can specify the means and route, although the law fails to define 'locality,' so they could force you to travel a considerable distance.

 

http://www.urban75.org/football/football-section-27.html

 

http://www.urban75.com/Action/index2.html

 

The Stoke and Plymouth fans on their way to matches (in the FSF article) were dealt with under Section 27 without any of the required evidence.

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The Stoke and Plymouth fans on their way to matches (in the FSF article) were dealt with under Section 27 without any of the required evidence.

I suspect the actual law would be that they should be capable of producing evidence should they have needed to, not that they need to produce it there and then. Much the same as they are not meant to issue a caution unless they believe that they would be able to obtain a conviction in court. Of course in practice you either do as they say or get nicked, and generally just leave it at that.

 

What I didn't know was they are entitled to search you if travelling on a coach or train to a sports event. Bastards.

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The Stoke and Plymouth fans on their way to matches (in the FSF article) were dealt with under Section 27 without any of the required evidence.

From the article...

 

Stoke City fan Lyndon Edwards, who is making a formal complaint to GMP and the Independent Police Complaints Commission, was one of those in the pub:

 

I asked for it to be stated on the Section 27 form given that I was not intoxicated and that there was no evidence of any disorder on my part. This was refused so I refused to sign the form. I was told to sign it or I would be arrested. We were then loaded onto buses and had to sit there for what seemed like an eternity.

 

Wow, just wow - they can't do any of that, you do not have to sign anything...

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The other day i was looking to purchase tickets for our game at Yeovil by train when i asked about cheap tickets and they never seem to be on sale on Weekend. She says if there is a big football match they not like to sell them cheap.

 

Seems the beautiful game is no longer beautiful.

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The other day i was looking to purchase tickets for our game at Yeovil by train when i asked about cheap tickets and they never seem to be on sale on Weekend. She says if there is a big football match they not like to sell them cheap.

 

Seems the beautiful game is no longer beautiful.

That's just supply and demand, no?

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This whole issue causes a lot of anger in me. A lot of the conditions imposed upon football fans are at best immoral and at worse contravene European human rights laws.

 

What followed from Hillsborough was in the most part good stuff but it also open the flood gates for the situation we have today.

 

If you think about how many people attend a football match at a weekend that is a scary chunk of the popular vote. That means power. If football fans really wanted to rid themselves of some of the unfair controls that are placed on them they certainly could do. The problem is we are bread to dislike each other. So there is no unity and unity is what is needed to tackle and win this issue. It needs to be tackled on a political front and it needs to tackled on a practical front. Police officers threatening to arrest you for not signing something ? Then let the idiots arrest you. Doubtful they have evidence to support their claims and I will sit back and laugh as my brief tells them as much. Then I sue for wrongful arrest and mistreatment. It easier done than most realise. I would also never pay a on the spot fine if I felt I was being wrongfully treated. Arrest me and we can deal with it in a court of LAW. The word LAW scares policemen because they are inherently poor at gathering evidence. No evidence, no conviction. There also a misconception that a policemen word counts for something in a court room. It counts for nothing, ask any judge. I know someone who bangs to right guilty. They got found not guilty due to lack of evidence, regardless of how much the copper pleaded he saw x,y and z. Quite embrassing really, that a polce officer clearly didnt know the basis of the criminal justice system...or the CPS for that matter!!!

 

Feel sorry as the majority of people confronted by police at a football match / pre game / post game are the young who don't know their rights. Policemen abuse this situation.

 

However, all this is hot air as we will never have the unity required to fight this I don't feel. There also isn't the political will, mainly because of the lack of unity, to fight this either. If their ever was, boy let me know, cause I am well up for the fight!

Edited by oafc0000
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and to top it all,if you are clued up to the section 27 etc etc,coppers these days,for ANY reason whatsoever, can just nick you under anti terrorism act.

got you by the balls whatever you try.

and in my own experiences watching barca in various countries in europe,its only this "great" country of ours that do this kind of stuff to football fans who want to just have a few beers,enjoy a chat with other fans in a friendly manner,see some football, then go on your way afterwards.

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YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE TREATED FAIRLY AND WITH RESPECT BY THE POLICE.

 

You do not have to say anything to the police. BUT if you are later charged with a crime and you have not mentioned, when questioned, something that you later rely on in court, then this may be taken into account when deciding if you are guilty. There may be good reasons why you do not wish to say anything to the police, and you should not be intimidated into answering questions. Get a solicitor down to see you in the police station as soon as possible.

 

REMEMBER:

 

There may be times when if you give an innocent explanation for what you have done, the police may leave you alone. It is wise not to discuss the case with the police until you have consulted privately with a solicitor. If the police are about to arrest you or have already arrested you, there is no such thing as a ‘friendly chat’ to sort things out. Anything you say can later be used against you.

Think before you talk.

 

When Police Get it Wrong

 

If you want to challenge anything the police have done then get the names and addresses of any witnesses, make a written record as soon as possible after the event. It should be witnessed, dated and signed. If you are injured, or property is damaged, then take photographs or video recordings as soon as possible and have physical injuries medically examined.

 

If you have been treated unfairly then complain to a civil liberties group such as RELEASE or contact a solicitor about possible legal action.

 

On the street

 

If you are stopped by the police; If they are not in uniform then ask to see their warrant card, ask why you have been stopped and at the end ask for a record of the search. You can be stopped and searched if the police have a reasonable suspicion that you are in possession of:

 

  • controlled drugs
  • offensive weapon or firearms
  • carrying a sharp article
  • carrying stolen goods
  • if you are in a coach or train, going to, or you have arrived at, a sports stadium.

There are other situations where you can be stopped and searched, for example:

 

If police fear there might be serious violence in a particular area they can stop and search anyone in that area for up to 24 hours. In these circumstances the police do not need co have a reasonable suspicion that you are carrying a weapon or committing a crime. This very wide power can be used at raves, demonstrations etc (Section 60)

 

REMEMBER:

 

You run the risk of both physical injury and serious criminal charges if you physically resist a search. If it is an unlawful search you should take action afterwards by using the law.

 

In the Police Station

 

You always have the right:

  • to be treated humanely and with respect.
  • to see the written codes governing your right and how you are treated.
  • to speak to the custody officer (the officer who must look after your welfare).
  • to know why you have been arrested.

You also have the right (but they can in rare situations be delayed):

  • to have someone notified of your arrest (not to make a phone call yourself).
  • to consult with a solicitor privately.

REMEMBER:

 

  • Do not panic. You cannot be locked up indefinitely.
  • The police sometimes keep you isolated and waiting in the cell to 'soften you up'. Above all else, try to keep calm. The police can only keep you for a certain period of time - normally a maximum of 24 hours (36 hours for a serious arrestable offence).
  • Make sure the correct time for your arrest is on the custody record.
  • Make sure you know why you have been arrested.

Insist on seeing a solicitor (you might have to wait, but it's always free). Ask them to be present when you are interviewed. Do not be put off seeing a soticitor by the police. It is your right, and it's free.

 

If you ask for anything and it is refused make sure this is written down on the custody record.

 

Section 27 and Footy

 

Like the Criminal Justice Act before it, Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 was not specifically aimed at football fans, but is increasingly being used by police against fans. Designed to prevent potential 'alcohol-related disorder,' the act gives the police powers to move individuals on from a specified area for up 48 hours.

 

The police serving the order need to have good reason and evidence to support their assertion that you are likely to cause alcohol-related crime or disorder (so just being in a pub is not just cause).

 

If you're are told to move on from the locality, the police can specify the means and route, although the law fails to define 'locality,' so they could force you to travel a considerable distance.

 

Note: The police have no powers to make you sign anything. If you feel you've been unfairly dealt with under S27, get the details of the officer concerned and - ideally - get it all on camera, along with the names of any witnesses.

If you want to argue the toss, ask to speak to a senior officer and put your case forward peacefully while complying with the order (i.e. walking away). If you stand your ground you're likely to be arrested and/or fined by the courts.

 

Section 60.

 

Section 60 is a different animal and is used by the Police when the Senior Police Officer tactically suspects that there will be instances of violence. They can cordon off areas and hold you, then perform cursory searches to ascertain that you are or are not carrying weapons. They can ask you to remove clothing, however they cannot look through individual items like cards in your wallet, flick through diaries or pocketbooks, or indeed look through your mobile devices – these actions are beyond their power for the S60, and you must warn them of the fact. Before conducting the search, an officer must take reasonable steps to communicate their name, number, station, etc. They also have to provide you with a written record of the search, which you should ask for. If they can't provide one straightaway, then they must tell you which police station you can get it from.

 

Interesting fact from Mark Thomas (no relation, but what a guy!):

 

Under the Data Protection Act, anyone holding personal data relating to other people (this includes video and photographic footage) has to provide copies to those people for £10 or the going rate. If substantial numbers of people exercise this right, the police will have to spend their resources on finding footage with those individuals on, in order to collate it and send it to them, rather than gathering intelligence and preparing for arrests…

 

Disclaimer: This is for information purposes only, and is only posted to inform fans. I am not a solicitor, and this does not constitute legal advice.

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The thing coppers have in their arsenal isn't to do with legal powers but the knock on effects of having a criminal record. A lot of employers have CRB checks and you have to declare any history of trouble with the police on applications. This shouldn't effect you realistically if you declare it (and it was for such a minor offence) but if it came down to two applicants one of which had a clean criminal record and the other had been arrested at football then most people would choose the person with the clean criminal record. BTW not declaring it is OK if it is never found out but I personally wouldn't do it as not declaring something can be a much more serious problem than the thing you did (for example I know stories of people being fired for not declaring a past problem e.g. with shoplifting when they were a kid but if they had declared it nowt much would have happened). The problem is the rights of football fans who aren't in the directors box or in executive areas (with their plentiful supply of alcohol) is not as important an issue with poiliticians as others (as it doesn't effect as many people as the NHS, education, transport etc nor does it impact on the politican usually- if someone can name a politician that regularly goes to their teams away games and goes into pubs when doing so I'd be impressed). Unfortunately for pubgoers, most pubs, clubs etc. have the right to refuse service to anyone they like as part of their conditions of entry so by entering you leave youself viable to ejection if they decide they don't like you. I'm not saying this is right but it is how it works and it would be the same for anyone who has ever been barred from their local. The violence you see at football is nowhere near as bad as it was in the past, and in many ways is not as bad as what you see in town and city centres during certain nights of the week. But very rarely have I seen those people subjected to the same sort of procedures as football fans. The rights of football fans could win someone a lot of votes at election time (especially in terms of cost benefit as to improve the matter wouldn't cost much) but it is not that high on the agenda unless it is made to be (ideally someone could stand as a single issue candidate to promote the matter).

 

From an social anthropology point of view, is the problem in towns and cities with violence a new phenomenon or has it got worse since the fall of violence at football? As I would guess you could make a link with the fall in violence at football (and interestingly a rise in limitation of the civil liberites of general football fans) with the rise in violence in city and town centres.

Edited by rudemedic
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and to top it all,if you are clued up to the section 27 etc etc,coppers these days,for ANY reason whatsoever, can just nick you under anti terrorism act.

got you by the balls whatever you try........

 

.....but we're still waiting for evidence of Police action against those at Stockport who assaulted Latics supporters and were captured on video. :angry:

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Unfortunately for pubgoers, most pubs, clubs etc. have the right to refuse service to anyone they like as part of their conditions of entry so by entering you leave youself viable to ejection if they decide they don't like you.

 

In the case of the Latics 9 ejected at Southend, there was no estriction on entry and we had been in the pub for over an hour, spending money, keeping ourselves to ourselves, talking to the GM/local Police officers, who advised those staying in Southend overnight where to go and where not to go. Then the barman suddenly decided that, as we were supporting the wrong team, we had to leave the premises, to the disgust of one of the locals who sympathised with us.

 

Within the barman's rights, but I doubt that he would have had the balls to eject us on the grounds of being gay, black, Catholic, etc.,

 

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In the case of the Latics 9 ejected at Southend, there was no estriction on entry and we had been in the pub for over an hour, spending money, keeping ourselves to ourselves, talking to the GM/local Police officers, who advised those staying in Southend overnight where to go and where not to go. Then the barman suddenly decided that, as we were supporting the wrong team, we had to leave the premises, to the disgust of one of the locals who sympathised with us.

 

Within the barman's rights, but I doubt that he would have had the balls to eject us on the grounds of being gay, black, Catholic, etc.,

 

I'm not arguing that what happened to you in Southend was wrong but what I was saying was that the staff at the pub could act in such a manner the same way the staff at other establishments can refuse to serve anyone they like. It is not illegal to discriminate against someone just because of the football team they support (unlike it being illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of sexuality, race, ethnicitiy etc.) and actually that can be a good thing because some football fans need to be discriminated against (I wouldn't like to walk into a Celtic pub with a Rangers scarf on for example). The barman may have asked a gay bloke to leave because he was gay but if he didn't say as much and gave another reason then the gay bloke would have to accept it as he accepted that when he entered the pub and he may have had to accept it if he was told it was because he is gay. (Bearing in mind the reverse applies to some places in gay areas).

 

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Just read a thread on another forum both are fans are on the so called list for England hooligans with no idea why. A Leicester fan claims when they returned on a ferry there passports where took off them no reason given. Another fan summed it up the FA only want Kids, Families and Ethnic Minorities to follow England.

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Very interesting. "Apology" my arse! Let's hope this is the start of a complete change in Police tactics and they start concentrating on the trouble-makers who tarnish the reputation of football supporters in general.

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