Fans face travel ban for minor offences
Saturday 13 August 2005
Instead of being issued with cautions or fixed penalty notices for crimes such as breaking windows or using threatening behaviour, the zero tolerance approach announced yesterday will mean that misbehaving fans will be taken to court and given football banning orders.
The orders mean they have to surrender their passports when England are playing abroad, and cannot travel.
Nick Hawkins, a chief crown prosecutor from Hampshire, who has led previous crackdowns on hooligans, said fixed penalty notices were "not appropriate" for dealing with the hooligan problem. He said: "We know from intelligence that some of the hard-core element refer to these [fixed penalty notices] as 'pay-as-you-go hooliganism', so it's clearly not having the desired effect."
Police issue around 500 cautions and more than 50 fixed penalty notices for low-level thuggery each season but most of those offenders will now get banning orders.
The current number of fans subject to orders is 3,067. However, orders against around 600 hooligans are set to lapse before the World Cup finals and nothing can prevent them travelling to Germany. In addition, 900 suspected troublemakers who are not subject to orders are being looked at by 29 special police teams to see if they can be prosecuted for minor offences.
Mr Hawkins said: "We are not talking about people celebrating and having a beer. We are talking about people who do that and then decide to smash the bar up."
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