Last month we reported on the case of Stoke City fans who, prior to their club’s fixture with Manchester United at Old Trafford, found themselves forcibly taken back to Stoke under threat of arrest. The police were able to take this action due to Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act of 2006.
Worryingly, police forces across the country are using these powers to unfairly target football fans. If you've been served a Section 27 order, we want to hear about it. It’s important we get as much evidence as possible in order to pull together a dossier for upcoming meetings with legal representatives. We are taking this issue very seriously.
The Act gives police blanket powers to move people from a specified area for up to 48 hours and was never intended as a measure to police football fans. You do not have to have committed any offence at all, yet the legislation gives police powers to move people from any place, at any time, if they think an offence related to alcohol may be committed.
We have now learned that South Yorkshire Police used the Act to prevent Plymouth fans attending Argyle’s Championship game with Doncaster Rovers on Saturday, December 6.
Two sets of Plymouth supporters have told us that their groups were escorted out of the county by police – under threat of arrest – and forced to miss the game. The fans were told police had “intelligence” and were served with a Section 27. No arrests had been made and eye witness accounts tell us that the atmosphere was quiet – no singing, shouting, or drunkenness.
We’ve also heard rumours that the legislation was used on a number Gillingham supporters, while in a seperate incident some Southend fans were also served with a Section 27 prior to their club’s visit to Crewe Alexandra. If you’ve had a Section 27 unfairly served on you, get in touch.
If you’ve had a Section 27 served on you and had given police no reason to think you would be involved in alcohol related disorder, it is very important you take the following steps and make sure your voice is heard:
- Lodge a formal complaint with the relevant police force, either by letter or email.
- Make a complaint with the Independent Police Complaints Commission, 90 High Holborn, London WC1V 6BH or via their website.
- Write to your local MP. You can get their postal or email address via the House of Commons website or They Work For You.
- Copy the FSF into all correspondence via this email address or write to us at Fans' Stadium, Kingsmeadow, Jack Goodchild Way, 422A Kingston Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 3PB.
Do not say anything you know not to be true, and cover all aspects of your experience. You might also want to ask for an apology, financial compensation for the cost of the match ticket, and an assurance that the Section 27 form on you is destroyed and that no record will be kept on your involvement in the incident.