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Police Given Powers Against Football Violence
By: Bill Osborne
POLICE powers introduced last season to curb football violence both in England and overseas are now to be made permanent by the Home Office. In a statement issued on Friday the minister reaffirmed the commitment of the authorities to end violence connected to football.
The temporary powers, which enable the police to ban known trouble makers from travelling to matches which was due to end on August 27 2002, will continue indefinitely under the Football (Disorder) (Amendment) Bill published on Friday.
Minister John Denham said: "Last year the conduct of England and English club fans abroad was the best for many years. This is a tribute to the fans. It also reflects increased success in identifying trouble-makers and preventing them from travelling.
".â€¦People intent on violence threaten English footballâ€¦."
We want to see similar success this year - from the England-Germany game in September through further World Cup, Euro 2004 and English club fixtures. Approximately 500 individuals are currently banned from travelling to games. I have asked the police to be better prepared than ever before to use the new powers to target known trouble-makers."
"People intent on violence not only threaten English football and this country's reputation, they also face a higher than ever chance of being stopped from travelling or, if they are involved in violence abroad, being banned from all football matches on their return."
The current laws enable courts to impose banning orders on individuals involved in disorder even if they have not been convicted of a football-related offence empowering the police to stop people leaving the country whilst they seek banning orders against them.
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