ENJOY the game, support your team but don’t overstep the mark - that’s the message from officers policing the county throughout the 2014 World Cup.
Officers will be working throughout the month long FIFA tournament to make sure fans can watch the games in safety whether they chose to do so at home or in a town centre pub or club.
Seventy-five officers have been specifically briefed to carrying out high visibility patrols in town centres across the Essex as England take part in their first match against Italy (Saturday, June 14).
Chief Superintendent Andy Prophet of Essex Police said: "Essex Police has planned carefully to ensure we have the right number of officers working at key stages during the World Cup.
"The tournament is a celebration of football and a chance to feel national pride. It is however just game and can never be an excuse for violence or disorder. We’ll be working hard to make sure football fans and their families and friends are able to enjoy the matches safely.
"If you chose to watch any of the games in a town centre you will see officers on duty. They will be equipped, trained and on the ground ready to deal with any disorder before it happens.
"I hope everyone enjoys the World Cup but experience tells us we need to plan for the minority who spoil things. Very often drinking too much alcohol is at the root of the problem. My message to anyone planning to go out tonight is have a great time, enjoy the game but please be sensible. Everything in moderation, don’t wake up in police cell regretting a moment’s madness.
"Anyone who does overstep the mark, spoiling the match for everyone else, will be dealt with promptly and professionally by officers. Where appropriate, that will include pursing matters through the court system.”
Domestic Abuse incidents can also increase when England matches occur.
Detective Superintendent Ewen Wilson said: "There are a number of reasons why the rise in domestic abuse is linked to the times when England are playing a match. These can include such things as stress, poor anger management mental health issues, depression and substance abuse. In addition, emotional stressors are combined with situational factors - the tournament is held in the summer and is associated with warmer temperatures and increased alcohol consumption and fans can often identify with team success or failure as if it was their own, which can have an impact on their behaviour.”
Essex Police has a number of additional resources in place to deal with any increase in related incidents , including extra double and single crewed cars in place during and after all England matches and the following day.
People can also get involved with the largest ever domestic abuse campaign being led by Essex Police in partnership with Essex County Council and supported by all of the borough councils across the county. The Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse campaign has lots of information and advice about domestic abuse, and everyone can get involved. You can use the hashtag #tweetyourfeet on social media to say #NoToDomesticAbuse and join the conversation. For more information go to www.essex.police.uk/standingtogether This year’s summer anti drink drive operation also coincides with football World Cup. Officers will be checking drivers and will be cracking down on those who choose to drink and drive. They will also be targeting drivers who may be over the limit from the night before – having stayed up late watching World Cup matches.