Police will not get subsidy

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The Independent Online
The cost of fighting crime on the streets during Euro 96 will have to be met mainly from existing police budgets.

Malcolm George, the Assistant Chief Constable of Manchester and the officer with overall responsibility for the tournament, yesterday admitted no special funding will be available for a huge operation during the June competition.

The Football Association, as organisers, will pay for the police inside the eight grounds at matches from 8 to 30 June, but there will be no extra Government money for police to fight hooliganism or crime on the streets.

"Any large event provides opportunities for the criminal and we will mount the largest-scale police operation the United Kingdom has embarked on for many years," George said. "The bill will have to be met from normal police budgets as there is no special provision from Government."

He would not estimate the number of police to be involved or the cost but there are fears that pickpockets will prey on the large crowds and the number of burglaries could escalate while householders' attention is distracted by match coverage on television.

Adrian Titcombe, head of security for Euro 96, said: "Along with millions of people following these games there will be those seeking to exploit the championship for their own criminal ends. We are determined to do everything possible to stop crime before it happens and thwart anybody who tries to spoil the enjoyment of genuine fans."

To that end, Euro 96 organisers yesterday announced a link with Crimestoppers. Anyone with information about a crime can call 0800 555 111 to report it and remain anonymous. The information will then be channelled to police. More than 15,000 arrests have been made under the scheme since it began in 1988.

Supporters will clearly need their personal telephone books with them at all times. The police stress that they can still be contacted on the emergency 999 number as well as their Hooligan Hotline 0800 515 495. There are emergency numbers of solicitors for fans in trouble and an FA hotline for ticket sales (099 099 1996) although 10 of the 31 games are already sold out. More than 1.3 million fans are expected to attend with over 250,000 from abroad.

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