With the FIFA World Cup™ 2022 football tournament starting on Sunday 20 November in Qatar, Hertfordshire Constabulary is urging supporters to enjoy the tournament safely and responsibly, whether that is at home with family and friends, in one of the many venues showing the games across the county or in Qatar itself.
England’s first match during the tournament comes on Monday afternoon (21 November) against Iran with further group games against USA (Friday 25 November) and Wales (Tuesday 29 November).
Chief Inspector Paul Mitson said: ‘The FIFA World Cup™ 2022 promises to be an exciting tournament and we want supporters to enjoy the matches in a friendly and peaceful way.
‘We ask you to please remember that not all Hertfordshire residents and visitors are football fans, so please try not to disturb their daily lives.
‘The overwhelming majority of football fans who either travel to the tournament or watch the matches at home or in a bar or pub are law-abiding and peaceful. However, we will act robustly to deal with any troublemakers and drunk and disorderly members of the public. Licensed premises have also been contacted and are fully aware of what we expect from them throughout the tournament.
‘We have appropriate policing plans in place for all of the England matches during the tournament, with officers in town and city centres to help you feel safe and to quickly respond to calls. It also means we have more officers on the roads ready to respond to reports of drink driving.
‘In addition, if you are thinking of travelling to Qatar to engage in football disorder then be warned that police forces are working together to identify troublemakers and will detain those identified if necessary before and during the competition.
‘We are fully aware that football tournaments can increase the risk of public disorder and that is why we have planned for additional resources to be in place on England matchdays. However, sadly the risk is not just limited to those venues across the county showing the matches and the risk of incident can also continue into households.’
Of course, football does not cause domestic abuse; however, there is some evidence to suggest that reports of domestic abuse-related incidents can increase during tournaments. Police have specially trained teams that offer support for those affected by domestic abuse on a 24/7 basis, 365 days of the year.
Football can be a highly emotional game and no matter how your team do, there is no excuse for taking your feelings out on your family or partner.
Domestic abuse is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) and it could lead to a breakdown of your relationship and/or family. You could even be arrested and go to prison if you are convicted of an offence.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse or affected by domestic abuse, you can call the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline on 08 088 088 088. It is free to call between 10am and 8pm from Monday to Friday. This number will not appear on your phone bill. You can also visit the Herts Sunflower website. You can also report domestic abuse to the police online. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or know someone who is, and there’s an emergency that’s ongoing or life is in danger, call 999.
Alcohol and road safety
If you are driving, do not drink and/or take drugs. It is not worth the risk. There is no way to know how much you can drink and stay under the legal alcohol limit, since it can depend on your weight, age, metabolism, the amount of food you have eaten and other factors.
Remember, alcohol takes longer than you might think to pass through your system. If you have been drinking the night before, there is a strong possibility you could be over the limit the next morning.
Roads Policing Unit (RPU) will lead the police’s response by increasing high visibility patrols on all our roads, both strategic and rural: there will be no road that can be used to evade being caught.
If you know you will be drinking later on, plan beforehand how you are getting home safely – you could arrange for one of your group to be the ‘designated driver’. However, it is often unplanned moments of drinking when people decide to take a risk – if you do have a drink, book a licensed taxi.
In addition, hundreds of police officers have been trained to take drug wipe tests at the side of the road, meaning you are just as likely to get caught for drug driving.
Drinking too much alcohol can have devastating consequences on your life and could lead you into trouble with the police. It can make you more aggressive, more likely to commit a crime and impair your judgement.
You are less in control if you are drunk and more vulnerable to being a victim of crime, including having your wallet or mobile phone stolen, being assaulted or even sexually assaulted.
Drunken behaviour, including urinating in the street, could result in police action such as an £80 fine or a night in the cells.
Police are working closely with licensed premises and volunteer organisations to make sure that you can enjoy the football matches in a safe environment.
They are also asking anyone that sees someone become suddenly unwell on a night out to report it and seek help immediately. If you’re worried about your own safety, you can also ‘Ask for Angela’ at the bar to alert staff.
Fans travelling to Qatar and the surrounding region
Police will be speaking to everyone who has a banning order, advising them of the consequences of breaching their bans. Those who are subject to football banning orders will be required to surrender their passports to their nominated police station.
There will be police officers in the UK and in both Qatar and Dubai gathering intelligence, so any fans seen to be misbehaving could be subject to a football banning order on their return to the UK, as well as being arrested and potentially charged for offences abroad.
You can find out more information and advice on how you can enjoy the tournament safely on Herts Constabulary’s dedicated FIFA World Cup™ 2022 website.