This is the first major international football tournament to be held at this time of the year, which is traditionally a busy time for our night-time economies in Manchester with Christmas markets, shoppers and people coming together for festive celebrations.
At the start of the Qatar Football World Cup Greater Manchester Police launched Operation Globemaster to tackle any increase in incidents of domestic abuse, hate crime, anti-social behaviour, and public disorder, which has been seen during previous international football tournaments. The operation has been there to provide reassurance and visibility to those fans enjoying the football on large screens and in pubs and bars as well as swift response to crime or anti-social behaviour.
Operation Globemaster started in mid-November when the World Cup passport surrender period took place, whereby all persons who were subject to Football Banning Orders were required to surrender their passports in accordance with the conditions of their Order. Approximately 100 banned supporters from the Greater Manchester area were required to surrender during that weekend. Last month, Specialist Football Police Officers deployed at Manchester International Airport to monitor supporters travelling to Qatar. Officers engaged with fans and monitored those travelling whilst communicating with colleagues deployed in Qatar, with GMP playing its part stopping those intent on causing problems from attending the tournament.
With the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar now nearing three weeks in there has been plenty of fantastic football for people in Greater Manchester to watch, and ahead of England’s crucial quarter-final fixture against France this weekend, Greater Manchester Police would not only like to wish the Three Lions the very best of luck but provide a reminder of how we’re keeping people safe, whilst also thanking the public for their continued support.
GMP has had no significant incidents after the four England fixtures against Iran, USA, Wales and Senegal. In what is likely to be an extremely busy weekend across the Greater Manchester area, GMP has comprehensive patrol plans providing extra visibility and reassurance to members of the public enjoying the football quarterfinals or enjoying some festive shopping and celebrations.
Additional officers will be specifically deployed to police large football related events, including screenings in the Greater Manchester area, and respond to football related crime when needed. This tournament has seen fans enjoying the success of the England football team and behaving in an exemplary manner.
Chief Inspector Jamie Collins of GMP’s Specialist Operations Branch, who is leading the Force’s policing response to the World Cup, said; “I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support whilst this tournament has been on. Despite being over 3,000 miles away the impact the largest sporting event in the world has on our area is still felt and we have historically seen in previous tournaments an increase in domestic abuse, crime and antisocial behaviour.
“You will notice a continued visible reassuring presence from officers in Greater Manchester going into this weekend and they are there to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and safe weekend, so please speak to them if you have any concerns.
“We would like to remind everyone to behave sensibly, whatever the result is, we understand that many football fans will be very excited should the result be a positive one and we would like for fans to be aware of the impact that their behaviour can have on others and our local communities.
“The City Centre, in particular, will be extremely busy due to a number of events with the Christmas markets still operating alongside shoppers and football fans, so we urge people to plan ahead and look out for each other, and be respectful of others.
“You can still report crime in all the usual ways from 101 to the LiveChat function on gmp.police.uk. In an emergency, always dial 999.
“But if you do see anything suspicious or something concerning to you, please speak to our officers close by or ACT on it by visiting gov.uk/ACT to report.”
Advice for people attending public viewings of matches at open events:
Police forces around the country are well prepared for the World Cup and will have plans in place to reduce the risk of crime and disorder.
Do not be a drain on police resources because you have had too much to drink – take responsibility for yourself.
Expect firm, fair and friendly policing. We are not out to spoil your fun but we will not tolerate criminal behaviour.
We advise the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity.
Suspicious activity is anything that seems out of place, unusual or just does not seem to fit with day-to-day life. It may be nothing, but if you see or hear anything that could be terror-related, trust your instincts and report it.
As always when in large public crowds, take care of your belongings, beware of pickpockets and bag snatchers at airports, railway stations, around town centres and when using public transport.
Arrive early at matches being screened to avoid problems upon entry if ticketed/seated, or missing the start of the match.