Second Step of the “Public Order & Crowd Management” Seminar is a Success

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11 September 2008

“Public Order & Crowd Management with the focus on the EURO 2008” was the subject of a seminar held in Winterthur, Switzerland on 26 – 29 August 2008. The aim of the 2-step activity was to gain comprehensive information about the preparation phase and the security concept of the European Football Championship 2008, as well as the evaluation and outcome of this tournament. The seminar helped the participants to be aware of different human behaviour around football events, to discuss the challenges in dealing with and managing complex situations in connection with football matches and last but not least to reflect on their own experiences on similar events and to exchange best practice.

Thirty-two participants from 22 member states, who were also present during the 1st step at the end of March this year – before the tournament in Austria – took part in the seminar. The focus during the 2nd step was to make a review of the EURO 2008 tournament. The participants were tasked to compare the outcomes of the tournament with the expectations and concepts of the organisers Austria/Switzerland with which they were confronted during the 1st step. Furthermore, the participants had to present and discuss their assignments from step 1 .

First up was a “Media Scan” where the participants had to scrutinize two, or maximum three, famous national newspapers about incidents during the EURO 2008 in the host countries Austria/Switzerland, as well as on the situation in the home country, producing a collage and a summary overview.

Secondly, the participants were asked to observe the “Home Situation”. The final game but also some games of the knock out phase are games with rivalry and full of risks for the home situation. Those countries not participating in the tournament can encounter problems with ethnic immigrant groups who are supporting “their country of origin”. Local fan groups organise themselves in pubs, in the streets of their neighbourhood or in the city centres where they watch TV or flat screens. In the home countries of the teams, public viewing places are organised too. The participants used a “Media Scan” and police information about incidents to collect data about their “Home Situation” in order to produce a national overview and describe specific incidents/arrests of the EURO 2008 in their own country.

Mentored by the Police Academy of the Netherlands as supporting country for this activity, with Professor Otto Adang and Mr Wim van Oorschot, seven course participants also took part in a third inter-module assignment which was developed and organised as a qualitative and quantitative field survey in the 8 host cities of the EURO 2008 during the 2nd group phase from 11 – 15 June 2008. This trip was organised at their own expenses. The subject of this part was “Observation of Public Viewing in the Host Cities - Crowd Management Aspects, Fan Behaviour and Interaction Public - Police - Private Security”. Mr. Gerald Muller, a participant from Germany, remarked that the whole day from breakfast to late evening was filled with intense engaging work and that the final debriefing added many more impressions to those he had gathered himself throughout the day.

The first day of the seminar was dedicated to the review of the EURO 2008 from the organisers point of view. Heads of Police and experts from Austria and Switzerland presented facts and figures concerning the tournament and reflected on their security, operational and training concepts, their leadership principles and decision making processes, as well as on what they had expected and what they experienced and subsequently realised.

The remaining days of the seminar were dedicated to the following main topics:

  • Evaluation of the Fan Behaviour
  • Evaluation of the Media Impact
  • Review of Public Viewing Events

The preparation, presentation, reflection and discussion of the three inter-module assignments were one of the high lights and a most interesting learning experience in this the 2-step activity, for the participants, as well as for the trainers and the organisers. Finally Professor Adang will use all three assignment data and in order to elaborate a (general and anonymous) report.

This was the first time that Switzerland has organised a CEPOL Seminar. The Director of the Swiss Police Institute, Mr Peter-Martin Meier, said that the organisation of this very first international course in Switzerland was a challenge, but also a great pleasure and he thanked everyone for their contributions and their support.

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