Essex Police assist national operation to check fans heading to France for UEFA European Championships

Essex Police have been working on a national operation to check football fans travelling to France

Essex Police have been working on a national operation to check football fans travelling to France - Credit: Archant

Officers from Essex Police have been working on a national operation at Stansted Airport, checking football-related travellers heading to France for the UEFA European Championships.

Since June 9, Operation Novella has been in action at Stansted and Southend airports, as well as Harwich International Port, scrutinizing fans on particular flights and ferries to France.

Officers in the operation, which has been coordinated by the UK Football Policing Unit, have powers to detain and prosecute those who have football banning orders and are trying to travel.

Police are also checking all travellers with convictions for violence or disorder, as well as working with the French authorities in identifying people who have been involved in football-related violence in France.

Working with licensed premises and other partner agencies, specialist public order officers will be supporting local officers at identified locations and town centres across Essex to deal with any football-related disturbances.

Throughout the championships, police and the Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) will be engaging with supporters who travel to pubs and bars in town centres to watch matches to talk about consequences of driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.

Historically, offences of domestic abuse increase during major football tournaments and Essex Police is working with partners to run a social media awareness campaign, which directs victims to support services and reminds potential offenders of the consequences of their actions.

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Chief inspector Richard Phillibrown, silver commander for Operation Novella in Essex, said: “The vast majority of people who will attend the Euros or watch the matches here at home are genuine fans who want to enjoy the championships. They have no intention of getting involved in any violence or disorder.

“Football is a family event and I want everyone to support their teams with passion and enjoy the occasion.

“Unfortunately, history shows us that there may be a small minority whose actions spoil the occasion and put the safety of others at risk, often fuelled by alcohol.

“My priority is for the police to take robust action against aggressive, violent and abusive people and protect genuine fans supporting their teams.”

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