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Polizei visit Norwich to stop thugs

PUBLISHED: 07:30 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 22 October 2010

German Chief Inspectors Toralf Decker, left, and Thomas Kolb. Norwich police have been joined by German officers at Norwich airport as part of a national security operation to stop hooligans travelling to the World Cup.

German Chief Inspectors Toralf Decker, left, and Thomas Kolb. Norwich police have been joined by German officers at Norwich airport as part of a national security operation to stop hooligans travelling to the World Cup.

RICHARD BALLS

A security operation aimed at keeping football hooligans and other violent offenders from travelling to the World Cup saw German officers joining local police 'spotters' at Norwich International airport yesterday.

A security operation aimed at keeping football hooligans and other violent offenders from travelling to the World Cup saw German officers joining local police 'spotters' at Norwich International airport yesterday.

Direct flights from Norwich to Amsterdam and Prague offer travellers the chance to travel to Germany by train, so German police have teamed up with their counterparts here to monitor the movement of known thugs through seaports and airports all over the UK.

Two Norfolk men with convictions for violence but not banned from football matches were detained at Luton Airport as they tried to fly out to the World Cup tournament, although it is not known whether a decision has been taken to prevent them leaving the country.

Since the World Cup kicked off, 75 individuals have been served with 21b football banning notices, 69 arrested in relation to outstanding warrants or for criminal offences, and an additional 113 given banning orders by magistrates as a result of security operations.

Toralf Decker and Thomas Kolb, of the German Federal Police, have already visited airports in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham and Hull Seaport, allowing them to share intelligence on hooligans and monitor the activities of police here during the tournament.

Two other German officers have been covering airports and seaports in the south, while two more have been based with the Football Intelligence Unit.

Mr Decker said the operation had proved effective and that it was important to be vigilant at smaller airports like Norwich as hooligans could look to exploit less high-profile gateways.

"There are flights going from Norwich to Amsterdam and you can get a connecting train from there and possibly be in Cologne in two or three hours," he said.

"It is no problem to get to Germany from here, and Prague would be another connection because there are a lot of football supporters there already.

"Some of the individuals subject to banning orders trying to get out of the country will not want to use major airports and seaports and will try the smaller ones because they think there is no police operation going on."

One known offender with a record for football-related violence was stopped at a major airport as he tried to fly out to Germany with a group of friends, said Mr Decker. He was served with a 21b banning order notice which was granted by magistrates, preventing him from leaving the country.

The use of banning orders and co-operation between police in both countries had ensured a peaceful tournament so far and the decision of the German authorities not to dissuade ticketless English supporters from travelling had also helped create a party atmosphere in cities where the games were taking place, said Mr Decker.


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