If you’re thinking of causing trouble during the 2014 World Cup then think again - that’s the message from Sussex Police just days before the competition begins in Brazil.
The force is warning any potential trouble makers that extra patrols will be on duty across Sussex during and after high-profile matches to respond to any public disorder incidents.
Officers have been working with local authorities and licensees from pubs and clubs to deter trouble before it starts.
Licensees have been asked to work with the police to keep people safe by providing drinks only in plastic or polycarbonate glasses and warning about any trouble makers to allow police to act quickly to halt any potentail behaviour problems.
Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp said; “Our main aim is to make this another safe and trouble-free tournament. Recent international football tournaments have been largely trouble free on the streets of Sussex. For example two years ago during the European Championships there was just one football-related arrest on the three England group match nights.
“We want people to enjoy themselves but not to the detriment of others so our approach will be friendly, but firm with anyone who uses the event as an excuse to cause trouble.
“The vast majority of supporters are law-abiding and peaceful and we look forward to enjoying the highs and lows of the World Cup with them.
“In addition to extra police patrols, we have a wide variety of legal powers which can and will be used if necessary.
“We also have powers to stop individuals drinking in public, and powers to require people to disperse from specific areas, if we think they are likely to cause or are causing trouble.
“Arrest can follow if they fail to comply. Think of the dispersal order as the yellow and red card scheme. A yellow card means you must leave the area. If you don’t you get the red card - arrest.”
Sussex Police say they are also aware of the large number of visitors and students from abroad, and people from abroad who now live here, who will be supporting their teams.
A joint command structure is being adopted with Surrey Police and each force will be able to provide extra officers to the other if the need should arise.
Anyone planning to watch matches in pubs, clubs or other venues in Sussex should be; drink aware - watch your purse/wallet/phone; Plan ahead, go to the cash point before you have a drink, know how you’re getting home at the end of the evening, know your route etc;
Sussex Police say: “Remember there will be firm but fair and friendly policing. Enjoy yourself but we will not tolerate illegal behaviour.”
Police also want to reassure people who are not involved with the World Cup matches that they and their partner agencies will be working to minimize any disruption.
Additionally, they are sending messages to specific group which could be affected;
To shopkeepers - don’t sell alcohol to under-age children or drunken people;
To partners and families - don’t be a victim of any domestic abuse, report it. Extra patrols are available to respond to just such calls. The police will take it seriously and support you.
To people from minority communities - We will also be on the alert for any attempts to victimise you. If you are a victim of hate crime, report it.