Policing of football in Scotland delivered effectively

20 August 2019

The public can be assured that Police Scotland is adept at managing the many football fixtures held across the country and all manner of other high profile events, states a report published today(Tuesday, August 20).

They can also be confident that all stadia associated with Scottish senior professional football clubs are reported to have the necessary safety certificates from their local authorities.

Today’s report by HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland assesses the progress made in meeting the 18 recommendations contained in “An Independent Review of Football Policing in Scotland” which was commissioned by the Chief Constable of Police Scotland following several high profile incidents in the 2018/19 football season and was published earlier this year.

HMICS took the opportunity to seek assurance over the management of safety certification for stadia and is satisfied that opportunities for improvement, in this area, have been identified and are being addressed.

The inconsistent approach to the management and scrutiny of stadium safety certificates and potential breaches of safety regulations had been identified in the Independent Review and the Scottish Government has been working to promote a national network of Safety Advisory Groups to redress this.

HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, Gill Imery QPM said: “This was a significant issue and while it has been recently confirmed that all 22 local authorities with senior football clubs have safety certificates in place, I share the view that more work in this area is required. It is recognised that it is a complex multi-agency issue and I look forward to further progress on matters relating to stadium safety.”

In relation to the other recommendations from the earlier review, Mrs Imery is satisfied with the work undertaken to date, stating: “Police Scotland has a proven track record of effectively delivering prominent events, including football, and has the requisite capability to work with the relevant stakeholders to discharge its responsibilities in keeping safe those who attend football fixtures.”

Twelve of the recommendations which were attributed to Police Scotland have been met and HMICS is content that the remainder are on track to be discharged within a reasonable time frame. Those which required action from the Scottish Government and other agencies, whilst not yet closed, have seen significant progress.

Police Scotland is working on an engagement strategy which will clarify, to supporters and various agencies, the specific roles undertaken by the football clubs, the leagues and the police in managing events. In developing this engagement strategy, media and social media plans consultation is underway with fans and other stakeholders. Training for those officers who take lead roles at football fixtures and dedicated football officers is also being reviewed and efforts are being made to streamline their responsibilities to provide a standard approach across Scotland.

The process for controlling road traffic at events, marches and parades via Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders also varies from location to location and legal opinion is being sought in a bid to establish whether a common national practice can be agreed.

HMICS will continue to monitor the recommendations against progress.

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