Lowestoft police in World Cup plea

FOOTBALL fans preparing to cheer England to World Cup glory were this week urged by Lowestoft police to 'enjoy yourselves - but please stay within the law'.

FOOTBALL fans preparing to cheer England to World Cup glory were this week urged by Lowestoft police to 'enjoy yourselves - but please stay within the law'.

The tournament kicks off in South Africa today amid growing excitement that Fabio Capello's team are in with a genuine chance of lifting football's greatest prize.

World Cup frenzy has been building over the past week in Waveney with many St George's flags now displayed on homes and shop windows, and bunting decorating cars and buildings.

But as pubs and clubs in Lowestoft prepare for a bumper month - starting with England's opening match against the USA tomorrow evening - Suffolk police and Waveney District Council are joining forces to ensure that patriotic fervour does not turn into drunken violence.

Extra police patrols will be carried out across Lowestoft during the tournament, with Safer Neighbourhood Teams and the special constabulary conducting regular licensing checks in conjunction with the council's licensing department on shops and at venues screening matches.

'These have been carried out in the run-up to the tournament as well, and we have been working closely with the council and other partners,' Insp Sarsfield Donohue, who oversees the SNT teams across Lowestoft, told The Journal. 'A lot of advice and guidance has already been handed out to pubs and clubs via the Pubwatch Initiative, in conjunction with the council.'

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He said the force was working closely with the council to ensure that the World Cup was a successful, but trouble-free tournament locally, for licensed premises and the community.

Meanwhile, the police are preparing to monitor levels of drunkenness in the town.

Along with the council and other partner agencies they aim to target premises that serve alcohol to drunk or underage persons, or where facilities provided by premises cause public nuisance through noise.

In order to keep trouble to a minimum, 'best-practice recommendations' have been handed out to all licensed premises. These include ensuring that town centre pubs and bars have enough trained door staff on duty, that they do not become overcrowded and that crowd-management techniques are used.

Mary Rudd, Waveney's Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, told The Journal: 'We are working closely with the police to ensure the World Cup is enjoyed by all, the right way.

'The World Cup is a massive event and many thousands of people in Waveney will enjoy watching the big games in pubs and bars. However, the last thing we want is for the enjoyment of the majority to be spoiled by the few and it is important that we all work together to diffuse potential flashpoints.

'Our licensing team will be monitoring bars and pubs throughout the district to ensure that venues which show the games are taking every precaution to avoid any problems. We want a successful World cup, but also a safe one for the communities of Waveney,' Cllr Rudd added.

Echoing these sentiments, Supt Ian Sidney, who is responsible for policing in the Waveney and Suffolk Coastal districts, said: 'Just as we would ask all members of the public to behave appropriately, we are speaking to every single licensee and reminding them of their responsibilities. They will want the next month to go as smoothly as we do and if we all work together, we can all enjoy a successful, enjoyable and trouble-free World Cup.'