Police security plans in place ahead of World Cup Qualifier
Officers from Police Scotland are urging supporters attending this Saturday's World Cup Qualifier at Hampden Park to drink responsibly, plan their travel and behave appropriately when getting behind their team.
A full-scale operation is underway to police several major events over the next few days including the General Election, Scotland v England qualifier at Hampden and the Robbie Williams’ concert. Officers have stepped up security to support the expected large numbers of people in Glasgow and Scotland’s capital city.
Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “This is major weekend for Police Scotland as we see a marked increase in visitors to our cities which will undoubtedly impact on our transport network and hospitality industry. We have been preparing for these events and robust policing plans are in place with public safety firmly at their heart.
“Understandably, since the tragic events in London and Manchester, people are more aware of the current threat to the UK from terrorism. There is no intelligence to suggest that Scotland or indeed this football match or any other event is a target but we have reviewed all forthcoming events to ensure our policing plans are robust.
“Armed policing officers will be deployed at both Murrayfield and Hampden Park stadium but the public should not be alarmed by this and they should be reassured that we have put in place contingencies to deal with any eventuality. Police Scotland is prepared and has the capability to respond effectively to any incident but it is important that people carry on their business as normal.
“We will not let the threat of terrorism impact on our everyday lives. Enjoy the events over this weekend and be assured that Police Scotland have plans in place to keep people safe.”
Police Scotland is working closely with colleagues at British Transport Police and the Scottish FA to ensure that people attend and leave the stadium safely and enjoy festivities in the city centre responsibly.
It is important to convey key information to those attending the match and visiting the city including:
This weekend is expected to be busy so follow travel advice, have transport plans arranged in advance and follow instructions to ensure you get to and from the stadium safely.
Given the recent tragic events in London and Manchester, there may be increased security in Glasgow and in and around Hampden Park, including people and bag searches so plan travel with this in mind. Spectators are encouraged not to bring bags to the stadium. Those carrying bags should expect to be searched at the outer cordons at Prospecthill Road, Mount Annan Drive, Somerville Drive and Letherby Drive. There will also be additional bag searches at the turnstiles. The stadium opens earlier at 3pm to accommodate for this.
Supporters are asked to show consideration for the general public given the recent tragic events in London and Manchester and refrain from demonstrating any behaviour which includes congregating in large numbers in crowded places that could frighten members of the public that something has happened.
Visitors and supporters are urged to drink alcohol responsibly. It is illegal to drink alcohol in public places in Glasgow or on buses travelling to the stadium. If you are too drunk, you will not be permitted entry to the stadium. Don’t risk missing out watching the game.
There will be specific operations targeting buses/coaches to enforce the law in relation to alcohol. Drivers, hirers and coach operators may face being charged if breaching this legislation.
There are strict conditions on what you can bring into Hampden Stadium. That information will be on your ticket but be aware, smoke bombs and other pyrotechnics and offensive banners are not allowed in the stadium. If you are found to have these on you, you will be ejected from Hampden.
ACC Higgins continued: “There are important differences to legislation in Scotland that everyone should be aware of, including not being able to drink alcohol in public, on coaches or if you are too drunk to enter the stadium. Please be aware of the differences as you may risk attending the match.
“Although the majority of supporters attending this match will be well-behaved and enjoy the game, there is often a minority who are intent on drinking too much alcohol and engaging in criminal behaviour such as vandalism, disorder or offensive behaviour.
“Be aware that a number of policing operations will be in place. Specific legislation has been implemented throughout the duration of the weekend that gives police additional powers to stop and search people who police believe may be looking to cause violence and disorder. If you intend to cause disorder, think again; you will be caught and you face spending the weekend in the cells.
“There is always a tremendous buzz with international matches like these. Let’s keep this match firmly focused on the football so that supporters can enjoy a safe match.”
Superintendent David Marshall from British Transport Police said: “We’re looking forward to a busy weekend throughout Scotland and will have a number of additional officers on duty. With the World Cup Qualifier match in Glasgow and Robbie Williams concert in Edinburgh, trains are expected to be busy.
“As expected, throughout the weekend we will be taking firm action against any individual or group who exhibit anti-social or criminal behaviour. There is no place for intimidating behaviour and our officers will be working hard to identify those who are out to cause trouble. We look forward to seeing everyone who is travelling by train to what is going to be a very busy weekend. From the first train to the last, my officers will be highly visible at stations as well as on board train services north and south of the border.
“In light of the dreadful attacks in Manchester and London, our focus has of course remained on countering the threat of terrorism. Whilst we have more BTP officers at stations across the country and have asked you to be vigilant, this does not mean that any specific intelligence has been received relating to our stations or that there is an increased risk of travelling by train.
“The public are the eyes and ears of the rail network and I would urge them to report suspicious behaviour and criminality to us by texting 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40.”
Dr Linda de Caestecker, director of Public Health, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, is stressing the importance of people looking after themselves – as well as family and friends – over the weekend.
Linda said: “It’s important that people consider their safety and their health while having an enjoyable time this weekend watching the football or at concerts.
“I would appeal to friends to look out for one another to ensure that everyone has a good weekend but also gets home safely.
“Be aware of your own alcohol intake and look out for your friends. Consider alternating between alcoholic and soft drinks to stay hydrated and put aside money for a taxi home or make sure you have transport pre-arranged.”