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Safety concerns raised over Scottish football stadiums | Football News

Top level review of policing in Scottish football highlights inconsistencies in safety checks

Last Updated: 06/03/19 1:52pm

A report into policing in Scottish football has highlighted serious concerns around stadium safety and called for an “urgent multi-agency review” into the situation.

The independent report, carried out by the UK’s most senior police officer with responsibility for football, pointed to inconsistencies in stadium checks.

However, the review also found policing of Scottish football to be generally fit for purpose, but called for better engagement between police and supporters.

Celtic celebrate a 1-0 home win in the Old Firm game in September 2018  but some fans were caught in a crush at the ground prior to kick-off Celtic celebrate a 1-0 home win in the Old Firm game in September 2018  but some fans were caught in a crush at the ground prior to kick-off

Celtic celebrate a 1-0 home win in the Old Firm game in September 2018 but some fans were caught in a crush at the ground prior to kick-off

In the report commissioned by Police Scotland, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts also recommended the role of FOCUS (Football Coordination Unit for Scotland) should be reviewed.

The report read: “Although not within the remit of his review, DCC Roberts said he had found inconsistency in the management of safety certificates for football stadiums.

“He recommended that an urgent multi-agency review should be carried out to establish an appropriate governance, consultation and inspection regime for Scottish venues used for football and other events.”

The report was ordered weeks after a crush outside Celtic Park last year but Police Scotland insist the review was not triggered by a particular incident .

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DCC Roberts said: “The review highlights the excellent capability of Police Scotland in policing football as well as specific areas where the service can develop further good practice and ensure appropriate consistency.

“The Scottish public should be confident that Police Scotland has a proven track record of effectively delivering all manner of high-profile events, football included, and has the requisite capability to work with relevant stakeholders to discharge its responsibilities in keeping football fans safe.

“As such, its operational policing model for football is certainly fit for purpose. The policing of football in Scotland compares well to operation across other European countries and has some excellent examples of good practice, which others should seek to learn from.

Assistant referee Calum Spence needed treatment after being struck by an object during Livingston v Rangers in October last year Assistant referee Calum Spence needed treatment after being struck by an object during Livingston v Rangers in October last year

Assistant referee Calum Spence needed treatment after being struck by an object during Livingston v Rangers in October last year

“I will be sharing the learning with the rest of UK Policing in order that we can promulgate the good practice from Scotland as many of the recommendations identify issues common to us all.”

The findings also come as the Scottish government and football authorities debate issues around coin throwing and sectarianism.

Scottish justice secretary Humza Yousaf recently said “nothing was off the table” when it came to dealing with sectarianism and violent behaviour.

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