Imagine now that the Club that has employed YOU has just been drawn away from home in the Scottish Cup against either Rangers or Celtic and that the match is to be played 3 weeks on Saturday.


What preparation might the Safety Officers from Rangers or Celtic now be contemplating?


The first thing he would have to determine is the kick-off time and whether or not the maximum crowd is to be permitted.


It goes without saying therefore that the stadium capacity could diminish depending upon what segregation arrangements are agreed with the police in the interests of pubic safety.


Having decided the crowd capacity and the kick-off time, which sometimes has a tremendous bearing on the levels of disorder encountered, the Safety Officer will undoubtedly then interest himself in the intentions of the Police Commander and monitor closely his preparations for the match.


Together the Safety Officer and the Police Commander will agree how many police officers and stewards are necessary to maintain both public safety and public order.


These numbers, of course, can fluctuate either way, substantially up on occasions, depending on the importance of the particular fixture and the tensions prevailing between both sets of fans at the time.


The above police numbers, incidentally, did not include their Traffic Department who mounted a complimentary operation to ensure the free flow of vehicular traffic to and from the ground and guaranteed that the designated emergency routes were kept clear throughout.


It is important in the event of a disaster or major accident that ambulances, fire brigades, and police vehicles have unimpeded access and egress.


The Safety Officer may also be invited to the Police Briefing for supervisory officers, the nature of which can vary significantly according to the individual style of the particular Police Commander.


One option is to brief on the Monday preceding the Saturday on which the game is to be played. This avoids a hurried presentation; creates a comfortable environment for the key supervisory officers to listen, learn, ask questions and clarify any ambiguous instructions, either there and then or upon further reflection at any time between the Monday and the Saturday; and much more importantly provides ample opportunity for these ranking officers to go away and cascade the briefing down to constable level in their own police divisions and departments.


Most Police Commanders prefer 'scripted' briefings, ensuring that nothing of importance is omitted. They also feel that in the event of something going tragically wrong a scripted briefing rather than mere recollection or scribbled notes would be much more acceptable to the presiding judge at any Public Inquiry.


The briefing will often be supported by visual aids which allow the Police Commander to point out and dwell on any important features such as segregation areas, after-match cordons, et cetera; and he or she will invariably hold the briefing at the actual ground thus affording an opportunity for any of his or her supervisory officers visiting there for the first time to fully familiarise themselves with their areas of responsibility before the match day.


Any additional information gleaned between the Monday and the Saturday is thereafter imparted to officers at a track-side briefing prior to the crowd entering the ground.


It also goes without saying that in order to achieve a flawless police operation clear and concise instructions must be in place in the form of a Match Order.


Today, many Police Commanders also rely on a document they refer to as the POLICE COMMANDER'S GUIDE, a document which evolves over a number of years at each ground and which itemises all known actions in the match operation and the precise times they have to be implemented in chronological order.



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