Date:Thursday January 8 2009
WATCHING FOOTBALL IS NOT A CRIME!
Here at FSF Towers.....hold on, what the fcuk is “FSF”? Ah, right. From the beginning. “FSF” is the Football Supporters’ Federation. It does what it says on the tin. 142,000+ fans of clubs and national teams throughout England & Wales. Arsenal to Altricham, Cardiff City to Carlisle, Torquay United to Tranmere Rovers, Aston Villa to AFC Wimbledon, England, Wales, you get it. Right, start again.
Here at FSF Towers we’re mad as hell and we’ve had enough. Of Section 27 that is....hold on, what the fcuk is “Section 27”? Sorry! It’s Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006. This new law gives any police officer power over any person where they believe, “that the presence of the individual in that locality is likely...... to cause or to contribute to the occurrence of alcohol-related crime or disorder.....”
The Act gives Old Bill/Dibble/Bizzies/Rozzers the power to require an individual to leave a locality for a period of 48 hours by a route the police decide. The Home Office guidance to police on how this power should be used says, 'supervising officers must monitor the use of the power to consider whether there is any evidence that it is being exercised on the basis of stereotyped images or inappropriate generalisations.' All good stuff.
We wish. We’ve now got cases of eighty Stoke City fans peacefully drinking in a pub in Irlam near Manchester before their game at Old Trafford a few weeks ago being “locked” in the pub, then bussed back to Stoke, missing the game. We’ve got the case of nine Plymouth Argyle fans who’d flogged all the way up the motorway from Devon to South Yorkshire being escorted out of a town centre pub in Doncaster before their match against Rovers, put back in their mini-bus and escorted down the motorway south in relays by South Yorkshire, then Derbyshire, then Leicestershire police. In both cases, no offences had been committed and the pubs’ landlords were happy with the fans’ behaviour.
The Plymouth party, which included an eleven year old boy, a company director and the son of a recently retired senior police officer, were even refused permission to leave the mini-bus to use the toilet. They had to pee into plastic bottles. The police finally relented and allowed them to stop when it was pointed out that the internal combustion engine doesn’t work without fuel.
Whilst they filled up they were surrounded by police, including baying dogs. And all this is an absolutely true story. There isn’t the remotest chance that any of these people were causing or about to cause “alcohol-related disorder”. In fact, in both cases fans trying to leave the pubs they were in were told to go back inside and have a drink. Good way to cut down on alcohol fuelled mayhem! And how much did all this cost the tax-payer? Would the police time and effort have been better expended? Call us old-fashioned, but we thought the role of the police was to detect and deter crime. No criminals needing their collars felt in Manchester or Doncaster that day then?
This has GOT to stop. We don’t know about you but we’re sick and tired of being treated like criminals for being football fans without due care and attention. We’re mad as hell and we’re just not going to take it anymore. The FSF is now working with the civil rights organisation Liberty to take legal action on these cases, it’s going to court so we can put an end to the police using these tactics.
We can help you and you can help us. There’s loads of information on your rights on the FSF website at fsf.org.uk. You can also join us as a member and donate to the costs of this campaign. Let us know if you get caught up in the Section 27 web by emailing us at: email@example.com, or give us a bell on 08702 777777. This Act was meant to deal with the local pub drunk, violent super-lager drinkers annoying people in the park, and young scrotes who want to kill somebody after a sniff of the barmaid’s apron NOT peaceful football fans minding their own business. You’d think we lived in the Soviet Union under communism. Enough with the storm trooper antics!
Know your rights and join the FSF’s campaign – Watching football is not a crime!
For further information, including a fact sheet on Section 27 (could come in handy if you’re unlucky enough to be singled out by the coppers) check out www.fsf.org.uk.
Date:Thursday January 8 2009
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