HC Deb 21 March 1984 vol 56 c471W
Mr. Terlezki

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many incidents of football hooliganism by British supporters have been reported to his Department in each year since 1980; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Macfarlane

There is no requirement for incidents of football-related hooliganism to be reported to my Department. I am, however, made fully aware of any serious incidents through the liaison group, and through my close liaison with the Football Association. Incidents within football stadia are, of course, primarily the responsibility of the Football Association.

However, since taking office, the Government have introduced a number of measures, with the football authorities, to counter violence associated with football both at home and abroad. These measures include the strengthening of magistrates' powers through the Criminal Justice Act 1981; the introduction of new custodial powers to deal with young offenders; an increase, to 120, in the number of attendance centres to which young offenders can be sent; and the liaison group which I set up for the 1982 World Cup and subsequently reconvened and which comprises representatives of my Department, the Home Office, the Football Association, the British Transport Police, the Association of Chief Police Officers, and British Rail. The liaison group meets regularly to discuss overall policy and pre-match planning for particular matches; it issued a "blueprint" to all clubs in August 1983, setting out mandatory and recommended measures to be taken to prevent incidents of hooliganism and prior to that, in February 1983, I wrote to all clubs urging them to reassess their procedures and precautions. In November 1983 a recommendation, which I initiated, setting out measures for preventing and containing hooliganism at football matches was agreed by European Ministers with responsibility for sport. Among other things, this recommendation requires the tight control of ticket sales to ensure effective segregation of 'both teams' supporters, and extensive liaison between all concerned to cover such issues as the travel arrangements of the supporters and adequate provision of police in and around the stadia.

All these measures require the fullest possible cooperation between the many organisations concerned. If that is achieved, the scope for disruptive behaviour should be severely curtailed.

Nevertheless, I shall continue to monitor the effectiveness of the measures we have introduced so far and to consider the introduction of further practical precautions which are not incompatible with the rights and freedoms traditionally enjoyed by the British people.