This small professional football club holds 16 000, but on most match days the attendance is much smaller. The club has three all-seater stands and one standing area. It has over 100 uniformed stewards. Their role is to offer help to spectators and to assist the police in crowd control. There is a part-time safety officer who is responsible for all aspects of crowd safety and police liaison. Local police often allow matches to be played without their attendance. The policing role is then carried out by club stewards.
- Crowd disorder in the stands and outside the ground.
- Pitch invasions.
- Assaults on staff, including injuries from missiles.
- Physical threats and abuse to staff, particularly when home team loses.
- Robbery when handling large amounts of cash.
Reducing the risk
Training and information
- The selection process for stewards stresses the risk of threats and assaults.
- Training for stewards includes communication skills, customer care, stop and search techniques, crowd surveillance and use of reasonable force.
- The safety officer briefs stewards before every match and provides information from police on potential troublemakers.
- Stewards are debriefed after each match to identify any potential crowd control improvements for future matches.
- Club policy on violence includes:
- random searches for alcohol or weapons as spectators enter the ground;
- alcohol is banned in the ground; those who are drunk are refused entry;
- disorderly spectators are removed and prevented from re-entering for the remainder of the match;
- those convicted of violence are banned from the ground.
- Rival supporters are segregated in the stands.
- A temporary extending tunnel is used to protect players and officials.
- CCTV is used inside the stadium.
- Stewards use radios to exchange information and manage deployments.
- Stewards are each issued with a call sign during pre-match briefings.
- Stewards are updated by radio on the mood of supporters and given information from the police mingling with the fans.