The Handling of Anti-Social Behaviour at Home Matchdays
Like all football clubs, Brentford FC needs to have a policy in place for the handling of anti-social behaviour of all kinds during a matchday. The optimum position needs to be found between over-reaction to light-hearted banter on the one hand and inaction towards clearly unacceptable behaviour on the other - no small task. Following a meeting between the CEO, Stadium Manager, Safety Officer and BIAS the following Policy is published:
The Starting Point
1. Generic Ground Regulations are posted around the stadium; all spectators should be aware that these regulations are in existence for the well-being and safety of all those attending a matchday, both home and away supporters.
2. The Stadium Manager and his team of Safety and Security Stewards are responsible for the conduct of matchday proceedings, and the word of the Safety Officer and his delegated representatives is final.
3. Safety Stewards are primarily in place for the safe evacuation of spectators from the ground should an emergency, or suspected emergency, arise. Secondary to this come other responsibilities; for example, the identification and 'early warning' of: away fans in home areas; aggressive, offensive or generally unacceptable behaviour of any kind; and other duties such as helping supporters to find their seats.
4. Security Stewards are employed to be able to intervene in situations that might result in 'strong words' or 'reasonable physical measures' needing to be used. Due to their more specific training they are equipped to deal with this type of escalated situation, which does arise at football matches from time to time - regrettable as that may be.
5. Whilst we all understand that football matches are inherently highly-vocal events, there is the need to ensure that the line of acceptable vs unacceptable behaviour is not crossed (see Ground Regulations). On occasion, the behaviour of supporters will fall short of what is deemed acceptable, and hence a policy is required to cover this eventuality (see below).
6. Should any spectator be witness to behaviour that he/she considers to be unacceptable or anti-social behaviour they should in the first instance make every attempt, should they feel safe to do so, to report the matter to a Safety Supervisor as soon as possible. This will often be best achieved via a Safety Steward. Through early notice being given to the safety staff can appropriate actions (including CCTV monitoring of possible repeat behaviour) be taken, there and then if possible. The longer the delay from an incident occurring to it being reported, the harder the task of the Club being able to take appropriate action.
7. Should a spectator wish to report an alleged incident of unacceptable behaviour after a game, then they have the following options:
a. Report the incident to a Safety Supervisor (possibly via a Safety Steward) straight after the game. If available the Stadium Manager may be asked to attend.
b. Write to the Stadium Manager, giving details of the incident.
c. Write to BIAS (The Brentford Independent Association of Supporters) giving details of the incident. This route might be taken if the spectator making the complaint wishes to have BIAS make preliminary representations to the Club on their behalf for the purposes of anonymity.
8. The Stadium Manager will decide upon the most appropriate course of action to adopt in investigating the alleged incident. He will liaise with the Safety Officer and the Chief Executive as applicable in this process.
9. If, after review and investigation, the Stadium Manager considers that further action needs to be taken regarding the alleged offender(s) (whatever the nature of the alleged behaviour might be) then one of 2 courses of action will be taken:
a. The Stadium Manager will communicate in writing with the alleged offender(s) and issue an instruction that continued behaviour of the type witnessed will not be tolerated in future; or,
b. The Stadium Manager will convene a Review Committee, comprised of the Chief Executive and Safety Officer, a representative of BIAS and a representative of BU, in order that the evidence may be considered and an appropriate course of action by the Club be collectively decided. This may include a ban being issued. If the conclusion of the Review Committee is that action shouldbe taken against the alleged offender(s), then this information will be communicated to the alleged offender(s) at the earliest opportunity. Should the alleged offender(s) disagree with the conclusions of the Committee then they will be entitled to appeal, in person or in writing, to a panel comprised of a Club Board Director and a member of both BU and BIAS, all of whom were not involved in the original Committee hearing. (Note:the role of the BIAS representative within the Review and Appeal Committees are to ensure that the evidence is presented fairly and completely, rather than to act as 'jurors' themselves.The Safety Officer will participate in both Committees purely to provide evidence).
10. In all instances, the spectator who reported the alleged incident will be updated at key stages of the investigation, either directly or via BIAS.
11. In cases where it is the Stadium Manager himself who has initiated an investigation into reports of alleged unacceptable behaviour (rather than a spectator) then paras 8, 9 and 10 above will apply.