6th July 2020

World Cup 2018 police operation begins as passports surrendered by those with football banning orders

Avon and Somerset Police are kicking off their operation in the force area ahead of the start of the World Cup in Russia next month.

And that means that 60 people who have football banning orders in the force area are required to hand in their passports before the deadline dates of June 4-5.

Letters have been sent out explaining why they need to do this.

Anyone that has failed to return their passport by June 5 – unless they have applied for an exemption – can expect a visit from Avon and Somerset Police where failure to comply could result in re-arrest.

Anyone subject to a FBO is required to hand in their passport, unless they have an exemption. They are not allowed to travel to England matches in this country or even travel overseas when England are playing abroad

Of those with football banning orders in the Avon and Somerset force area, some do not hold passports, others their passports are due to run out before the World Cup starts, while others have been given exemption to travel.

England’s opening warm-up game for the World Cup is against Nigeria at Wembley on June 2.

Those who surrender their passports will be able to collect them at the conclusion of England’s involvement in the competition in Russia.

Police are keen to stress that football banning orders are not issued purely as a result of incidents committed at football matches. They can also be provided as a result of other types of football-related disorder.

For instance, anyone going to watch a match on a television at a public showing, such as a pub, who becomes embroiled in any form of anti-social or violent behaviour, could find themselves with a FBO.

A banning order prevents attendance at any regulated match for a period of between three and five years – if the individual is not subjected to a custodial sentence. For those who are imprisoned, the banning order extends to a period of between six and 10 years. Other conditions requested on a FBO may include exclusion zones around stadia before and after home fixtures, plus a day-long ban on travel to towns and cities, where away matches are being played.

Throughout the football competition police will be providing high profile reassurance patrols to ensure any potential problems are dealt with robustly.

This includes anti-social behaviour and violence, domestic abuse and drink driving, which can be linked to the football tournament. Offenders will be arrested and police will seek football banning orders from the courts.

Victims of domestic abuse are urged to come forward and report incidents so that they can be provided with advice and support.

Those who decide to watch World Cup matches in pubs and clubs need to ensure they are able to get home safely – and not behind the wheel of a vehicle if they have been drinking. A conviction for drink driving might result in the driver not only losing their licence but possibly their job as well.

Operation Tonic, Avon and Somerset Police’s drink-drive enforcement operation, will be taking place throughout the tournament’s duration.

Chief Inspector John Holt said:  “We are rolling out well-rehearsed plans for the World Cup. We hope that it will be a successful and enjoyable tournament for fans, who will put fun and enjoyment at the top of their agenda.

“However we will not tolerate and football-related anti-social behaviour or violence, whether out in the community or behind closed doors at home and will deal robustly with such problems.”