Police urge fans to enjoy World Cup semi-final safely

Police are urging fans to be safe and responsible when watching the World Cup semi-final.
Police are urging fans to be safe and responsible when watching the World Cup semi-final.

Police are urging football fans to enjoy the World Cup semi-final safely and responsibly after experiencing their busiest day of the year on Saturday.

Ahead of the highly-anticipated match on Wednesday, Durham Constabulary are asking supporters to behave responsibly and think twice about whether they need to call 999 or 101.

England's quarter-final game on Saturday saw the force experience its busiest day of the year, as England won a place in the World Cup semi-finals after beating Sweden 2 – 0.

Throughout the day, the force dealt with 1,418 calls - 390 of which were calls to 999, and 1,028 calls to 101.

Every cell in County Durham and Darlington was full, mostly with people affected by alcohol.

Superintendent Colin Williamson said: “Saturday was by far our busiest day of the year – it was even busier than the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, which are usually our most demanding days.

“Thankfully there were no major incidents and the majority of people behaved responsibly, but the combination of good weather, alcohol and a fantastic result for England resulted in a huge increase in calls to us.

“Like the rest of the country, we are delighted with the result and are looking forward to Wednesday’s match as much as everyone else.

"We will have extra patrols on duty on Wednesday night to keep everyone safe.

“However, we’d urge you all to enjoy the match safely and responsibly.

"It’s the first time England have reached a World Cup semi-final in 28 years – do you really want to miss the match by ending up in a police cell?”

Police are also urging people to think twice about whether they need to call 999 or 101, or whether the incident can be dealt with via the Click Before You Call service on the website.

Supt Williamson added: “A number of calls we received on Saturday could have been easily addressed through other channels, rather than by calling 999 or 101.

“Please help our officers to respond to those that urgently need our help, and only call if there is a genuine need for a police response.”

Police, Crime and Victim’s Commissioner, Ron Hogg, said: “It’s great that so many people are able to support a successful England football team this summer, and I wish them all the best in the semi-final.

“I would encourage everyone to enjoy the rest of the World Cup safely and sensibly.”