Football fans urged to ‘Know The Game Plan’ for new Premier League and Football League seasons

Football fans gearing up for the new Premier League and Football League seasons are being reminded to ‘Know The Game Plan’ and report any security concerns to stewards or staff. National Counter-Terrorism Security Office professionals have been working with the Premier League, the English Football League (EFL) and individual clubs to enhance measures designed to keep supporters safe and to raise and awareness of the threat from terrorism among club employees and supporters alike.

While there’s no specific threat to football grounds, the project is part of a wider police plan to work more closely with different sectors such as retail, hospitality and entertainment to help protect the public.

Other sports such as rugby, tennis and cricket have also been supporting the ‘Know The Game Plan’ initiative, while former England internationals Alan Shearer, David Seaman and Paul Parker took part in a police campaign during the recent World Cup.

Nearly a quarter of a million sports event stewards have been issued with a short guide giving key advice to help protect crowds of spectators.

Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth, the national co-ordinator for protective security,  said: “The chance of being caught up in a terrorist attack is low, but we want the public to feel confident to come forward and report to matchday staff or police any concerns if they see something suspicious. The more clubs encourage supporters to do this, the more likely they are to act on their instincts and not worry they might be mistaken or wasting time. Most concerns will turn out to be nothing and that’s absolutely fine. It’s far better to say something than risk an important piece of information being missed. Our mantra is that ‘Action Counters Terrorism’. If you see something, don’t hesitate to ACT.”

Sharing of knowledge

Bob Eastwood, security and operations advisor for the EFL, added: “Urging supporters to think about security is just part of the work football has been doing in partnership with the police. Over the last 12 months, we have held many events all over the country such that counter-terrorism officers and stadium security managers can share their knowledge and do all they can to stay a step ahead. The safety of all fans is football’s foremost priority and we all have a role to play in doing everything we can to keep each other safe – police, officials and supporters.”

The key ‘Know The Game Plan’ advice all fans are asked to follow is as follows:

*arrive early, allowing more time for security checks

*minimise what you carry as fewer bag searches will speed up entry to the ground

*be vigilant at all times and if you see anything suspicious, tell a steward right away

*if you see anything that could pose an immediate threat to safety then call 999

*in an emergency, listen to the public address instructions and follow them

*if told to evacuate, do so immediately and don’t wait around to film events on your mobile phone

*move right away from the stadium as quickly as possible for your own safety and also to allow clear access for any emergency vehicles

*once you are safe, follow the local police force on Twitter for updates

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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