Belfast Telegraph

Paris attacks: Police chiefs plan on how to keep fans safe at Euros

By Ian Herbert

British police expect at least half a million UK football fans to travel to the European Championship Finals in France next summer and are preparing for the huge task of ensuring that the travel advice relevant to the security risk is known and understood, in the light of Friday's atrocities in Paris.

With Uefa determined the tournament will go ahead and that football will not be deterred by the outrages that killed at least 129 people on Friday night, it is understood senior British officers are preparing to step up the task of ensuring the supporters of England, Wales and Northern Ireland know how to minimise any risk.

The finals are still seven months off, so officers can only work hypothetically, as it is unclear what level the security risk will be next June, but there will be liaison between them and the Foreign Office to ensure that the largest ever movement of fans from these shores departs in the full knowledge of how to stay as safe as possible.

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As London prepares to receive the France team, whose determination not to be cowed by the terrorists will see them fulfil the friendly fixture at Wembley tomorrow night, thoughts have already turned to how to make next summer's championships safer.

Former Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has suggested that reducing the number of host cities from 10 to six or seven could help reduce the security risk.

"I think that is certainly one of the options that could and should be looked at," she said.

"The cities will be different. They will have different levels of diversity, different levels of cohesion.

"These are the kind of judgments that those planning the championships will want to take into account, because the important thing is that the security strategy is appropriate to the town or city that is hosting the event."

Another of the tasks facing British officers is the creeping return of English hooliganism, which poses a risk at the first international tournament easily accessible from these shores for years.

The French forces will be vastly preoccupied without having English violence to contend with.

Belfast Telegraph