Devon and Cornwall Police are advising football fans to have fun, but drink responsibly during this summer’s FIFA World Cup.
During previous football tournaments incidents of alcohol-related violence, including domestic abuse, have increased – particularly following England games.
Alcohol plays a significant factor in these incidents and people may be drinking more alcohol whilst watching the World Cup matches. Over the next four weeks, police will be raising awareness of the link between alcohol and violence.
In 2010, Devon and Cornwall Police recorded a 28% increase in reported alcohol related offences, with the largest increases seen in the offences of drunk and disorderly, assault, criminal damage and domestic abuse.
Police are keen to send out a clear message to possible offenders that these types of crime will not be tolerated and urge those who are victims of these crimes to seek help and support.
Detective Chief Inspector John Trott, the force’s lead for domestic abuse, said: “Nationally we know that the numbers of domestic violence and abuse reports to the police and partner agencies increase on England’s match days. There is undoubtedly a link between alcohol and this rise in violence and abuse, the consequences of which are devastating for victims and their families.
“Our advice to victims would be that if you are worried that you will be more at risk during the competition don’t wait – contact the police or any of the victim support services where you will receive the help that you need. Our partner agencies are also prepared to deal with any consequences that the event may bring and will be ensuring that there is the support out there to help victims of this terrible crime.”
Superintendent Jim Pearce, who is leading Devon and Cornwall Police’s World Cup operations, added: “We want to remind people that alcohol is not an excuse and we will be taking a robust stance in dealing with any perpetrators of violent crime and domestic abuse.
“The World Cup should be an event that everyone can enjoy and we want to ensure that people are free of the fear of violence in any form.”
Devon and Cornwall Police have produced a series of posters to raise awareness, of drinking and domestic abuse. The stark images and the messages, ‘One more drink could change everything...there’s never an excuse, win or lose.’ And ‘One more drink could change everything...kicking off can leads to extra time and penalties’ warns would-be offenders to think before they act and that their behaviour will not be tolerated. Help and advice is provided via two leaflets – one aimed at football fans and the other at licensed premises operators.
For information around alcohol and drinking visit: www.drinkaware.co.uk For help and advice domestic abuse call National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or Devon and Cornwall Police on 101 or visit www.devonandcornwall.police.uk