SUSSEX Police are planning for a potential increase in domestic abuse during and after European Football Championship games.
Officers will be specifically tasked at peak times durng and after England matches to help protect victims and families from abuse.
During and after the four matches England played in South Africa during the 20102 World Cup, reports of domestic abuse increased significantly.
The evening of the first game saw 27 such reports compared with 16 on the same day the previous June.
The figure for the second game was 31 as opposed to 20 the previous year, for the third game there were 37 reports against 14 the previous year, and for the quarter-final game on 27 June there were 43 reports against 24 the previous year.
Alongside their response role, the officers will be kept up to date about previous or likely victims who may be particularly vulnerable, and about suspected or proven offenders who may pose a higher risk.
“They will proactively visit individual such victims and offenders in appropriate cases. In addition there will be teams of specialist investigators to carry out further enquiries.
A Sussex Police spokesman said; “The patrolling units will help provide a prompt response to domestic violence incidents, and officers will be equipped with video cameras to secure vital evidence. Early attendance by officers using video cameras increases the chance of gaining quality evidence, not just relying on the victim’s word against an abuser.
“For the vast majority of people who watch matches and support their national teams the Championship games are enjoyable events that draw people together. But for a small minority football provides the catalyst for alcohol abuse and violent behaviour, which can be particularly dangerous in some relationships.
“We also work with a variety of other support agencies to tailor safety plans for victims at high risk of serious harm. The police response aims to prevent abuse where possible and deal robustly with any offenders committing crimes against partners and family members. If domestic abuse is happening to you or someone you know, seek help from the police or one of the local dedicated domestic abuse services in Sussex. Anyone aware of danger of harm to an adult or children within a household can ring the police on 101 at any time. In an emergency dial 999.”