Police patrols stepped up for World Cup amid concerns over anti-social behaviour
Police patrols will be stepped up in the West Midlands, Staffordshire and Shropshire during the World Cup amid concerns over anti-social behaviour, drink-driving and disorder.
Bosses have said cities and town centres will be busier than normal on match days – especially when home nations England and Wales play – as they urged people to be respectful.
However they say they just want "everyone to have a great time" and enjoy the tournament, held controversially in Qatar and for the first time not in summer, without any problems.
Superintendent Nick Rowe, head of the football unit for West Midlands, said: "This is a very exciting time, a time where football fans come together and enjoy a month of football.
"You may see a few extra police officers out and about as England make their way through the tournament.”
Pc Rich Lymer, a dedicated football officer at Staffordshire Police, said they want their communities to feel safe – and this "will be no different during the World cup period".
He said: "The excitement and buzz of a major football tournament can bring with it an increase in anti-social behaviour, drink driving and disorder.
“Some of these issues directly align with community priorities which local officers are robustly actioning on a daily basis. Officers will be providing visibility within high-footfall areas and regularly speaking with members of the community."
And Chief Inspector Jack Wright, from West Mercia Police, said: "As we prepare for the start of the World Cup on Sunday we expect to see our city and town centres across the force area to be busier than normal on match days, especially when England and Wales play.
“Therefore, we will have appropriate policing plans in place on each matchday to ensure those wishing to watch the games in public do so safely and respectfully.
“This means people may see an increase in police officers in our town and city centres, as well as in our rural communities, across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire throughout the tournament, who will be able to quickly respond to emergency calls either at venues or in homes. The increase in police presence means more officers will also be on hand to keep our roads safe, and will be ready to respond to reports of drink and drug driving.
“The vast majority of fans will be enjoying the football supporting their country, but rest assured that if you do use the event as an excuse to commit crime or cause disorder, we will take action.”
England and Wales will both be in action on Monday, with the Three Lions playing Iran at 1pm whilst The Dragons will take on the USA at 7pm.