Police are encouraging football fans to be vigilant at games and to not hesitate in reporting any security concerns to stewards or staff.
Officers have been working with the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and individual clubs to enhance measures designed to keep supporters safe, and to raise awareness of the threat from terrorism among club employees and supporters.
While police are saying there is no specific threat to football grounds, the project is part of a wider plan to work more closely with different sectors such as retail, hospitality and entertainment to help protect the public.
At a special event at the bet365 stadium yesterday, one of the UK’s top counter terrorism officers, the national police coordinator for protective security, Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth was joined by specialist dog handlers to talk about the “Know the game plan” initiative and to show how trained dogs can find suspect packages in crowded areas.
Nick said: “Fans can all play a role in a successful security operation and the more clubs encourage supporters to do this, the more likely they to act on their instincts and not worry they might be mistaken for wasting time.
“Most concerns will turn out to be nothing and that’s absolutely fine, It’s far better to say something than risk an important piece of information being missed.
“Our mantra is Actions Counters Terrorism. If you see something, don’t hesitate to ACT.”
Head of security for Stoke City FC, Ravi Sharma, and the regional representative for the Sports Ground Safety Authority, Laura Strong, were also on hand to remind fans of the part they play in keeping all visitors safe, and that the well-being of all visitors, staff and players is paramount.
The key advice fans are asked to follow as part of “Know the game plan” is:
- Arrive early, allowing more time for security checks
- Minimise what you carry, fewer bag searches will speed up entry to the ground
- Be vigilant at all times and if you see anything suspicious, tell a steward straight away
- If you see anything that could pose an immediate threat to safety, call 999
- In an emergency, listen to the public address instructions and follow them
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately, do not wait around to silm events on your mobile
- Move right away from the stadium as quickly as possible for your safety and to allow clear access for any emergency vehicles
- Once you are safe, follow the local police force on Twitter for updates.
More information can be found at gov.uk/ACT or @TerrorismPolice