UEFA has emphasised its determination to take a leading role in the campaign to guarantee safety and security for fans at football matches throughout Europe. The latest UEFA-European Union Stadium and Security Conference in Munich brought together some 350 representatives of UEFA, the EU, national football associations, football clubs, police forces and other stakeholders for discussions and exchanges on the broad range of security-related issues surrounding the game. Topics on the agenda included how to counter the continuing problem of violence in and around stadiums, the threat of potential terrorist attacks at football matches, the dangers posed by, among others, pyrotechnics and drones, ensuring accessibility to football matches for all, and potential liabilities and risks for the organisers of football events.
Stakeholders at a panel discussion in Munich UEFA
The conference takes place at the start of each new club competition season, and the aim of the Munich gathering was to help participants keep pace with latest developments in stadium safety and security; share experiences from the previous season; and promote an integrated pan-European approach to security, involving governments, municipal authorities, police, security forces, football authorities, supporters and local communities. In a message to the conference, UEFA President Aleksander eferin underlined the European body s commitment to ridding football of various negative factors that create potential risks at matches, and which affect spectators enjoyment of the match experience. Supporters are the lifeblood of football, he said . Without them, the game would lose its atmosphere, its passion and its meaning.
We believe, the UEFA President continued, that spectators have the right to expect football events to take place in a safe, secure, comfortable and welcoming environment and that they should be able to feel excitement, rather than any kind of fear or concern. Mr eferin stressed that considerable work had been done to reduce spectator violence . However, we are still confronted with unsavoury incidents which occur inside and outside stadiums across the continent, he added.
There is also, of course, the threat of terrorist attacks at venues . This has now become a very real and serious threat that we must never neglect. The UEFA President described the UEFA-EU security conference as a unique forum in which all those working in the field of stadiums and security can meet to discuss, exchange ideas, make proposals and set the course for ongoing work in the future. The chairman of the UEFA Stadium and Security Committee, Michael van Praag, welcomed the funding provided by UEFA to implement its safety and security strategy over the coming years. The strategy has at its core the delivery of integrated and balanced safety, security and service for the vast majority of fans, he said, while, at the same time, seeking to exclude the small minority of troublemakers. Mr van Praag underlined that the strategy will maximise support for UEFA s member associations in their national safety and security work, as well as continuing the long-standing close co-operation between UEFA, the EU and Council of Europe.
Adrian Dinc , vice-chairman of the standing committee of the European Convention on Safety, Security and Service at the Council of Europe, said it was essential to guard against complacency in the campaign to ensure that football matches took place in a safe and welcoming environment. Regardless of better governance, the improvement of infrastructures and new security technologies, every week we have incidents where people are injured in every part of the world, he told the conference . That is why the safety and security topic must be continually discussed and refined.
This is one of the areas where we can never think that our job is finished, he added.
A private cyber security firm has been involved in a year-long probe into the anonymous Twitter accounts of officers and staff within the Police Service of Northern Ireland allegedly involved in online racist abuse and trolling, it can be revealed.
The firm was hired by the PSNI last year to help trace the identity of the individuals behind a number of Twitter accounts, which also appeared to publish information about ongoing police operations, the Press Association has learned. On Monday, the PSNI confirmed that Twitter activity by persons purporting to be police officers was under investigation. On Wednesday it emerged that an internal police probe was first launched 12 months ago, shortly after the PSNI’s chief constable received online criticism for comments he made on social media to an officer. George Hamilton apologised after he told an officer on Twitter in August last year to stop “wallowing in self pity” and “dry your eyes” after he raised concern about the increasing pressures of the job. Following the online exchange, a number of anonymous Twitter users, suspected of being police officers and staff, criticised the chief constable and posted complaints about the job and PSNI management. A fake recruitment video was also made and posted on Youtube by one of the Twitter users under investigation. The video shows a number of PSNI officers dancing beside a police helicopter and at other sites across Northern Ireland. A voiceover says: “Are you considering a career where every day you drive home you fear you will be shot ? Do you want the rush of wondering if the IRA has planted a bomb under your car ?
Do you want to be told to dry your eyes when asking for mental health support? “Then join the Police Service of Northern Ireland today . Recruitment is now open to a host of new officers to be belittled by senior management teams, spat on by the public, harassed by the police ombudsman and have their spirits crushed.”
A security source told the Press Association it was around this time that the private security firm was asked to help trace the suspected police officer owners of a number of Twitter accounts. The source said the account that began to cause the greatest concern to management was being run under the Twitter handle @DonYeeoo because of alleged racist and sectarian comments, trolling of other social media users and sharing of classified police information. When it first came to the attention of the authorities the @DonYeeoo account was called Fenian McTaigerhun . The description of the account holder said “Crime Solver & lion tamer.” Some of the tweets under investigation, which have since been deleted, included: “Saudis in general just are disgusting people . Intelligence and money means nothing . Horrible dirty culture.” Another tweet said: “White people at Black Lives Matters protests are the worst of the worst … . and should throw themselves into the sea.”
The Twitter user also criticised serving police officers posting: “Every now and again I run into cops who really shouldn’t be cops . At one stage they were probably alright; but they checked out years ago.” A source close to the investigation said it was difficult to trace the identity of @DonYeeoo because the Twitter user knew how to cover their online footprint.
However, the source said photographs of locations within PSNI buildings that the Twitter user had posted, as well as data assistance from Twitter, have been used to trace the person suspected of running the account. “The initial investigations into the accounts brought the attention on the @DonYeeoo account and that account became the number one priority . Some of his content was causing major problems.
“He was smart using VPN (virtual private network) etc and it took a while for Twitter to provide information necessary . He started getting sloppy . Location pictures led to his downfall .
CCTV was played back at the locations,” the source said. A number of the anonymous accounts which formed part of the internal probe were suspended last week. It is understood investigations are still ongoing.
PSNI assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton recently said police are “examining material posted on personal social media accounts by a number of individuals and are undertaking investigations to establish if the individuals are all serving officers.”
On Monday, the PSNI said the organisation “will not accept any racist, sectarian, sexist or homophobic behaviour from any of our staff.”
A horrified holidaymaker has claimed she found a security guard filming her while she showered. Sickened NHS worker Laura Meakin spotted the man as she washed after a night on the town in Gran Canaria. The appalled 24-year-old rushed out to the walkway of the eighth floor room in Puerto Rico she was sharing with her boyfriend Curtis Henderson to confront the man.
But he claimed he had only been having a cigarette – despite their out-of-the-way room location and a smoking ban at the Castillo de Sol complex. Laura, from Rotherham, South Yorks, said she first noticed a mobile phone poking through her hotel window.
Laura was taking a shower when she says she was horrified to discover she was being filmed (Image: Triangle News) Laura says she saw the phone peeping in through this window (Image: Triangle News)
She said: “We had come back from a night out at 3am . Curtis was laying on the bed, eating his kebab.
“I told him I was going to have a shower and wash my hair . I got into the shower . The window into it opens into the bathroom. “
For some reason it was in my eyeline, so I kept looking at it . At one point I looked up, and I just saw a phone pointing in the window.
“I thought, ‘That’s weird.’ So I got out, walked to the door and the security guard was standing outside smoking.”
Laura, who fell victim to the voyeur a week into her fortnight-long break in June, added: “I said, I’ve just f****** caught you filming me in the shower.
Laura says the man was filming her through this window (Image: Triangle News)
“He said ‘No, no, me smoking a cigarette.’ “I said, you weren’t smoking a cigarette, you were filming me in the shower.
“I said it was forbidden to smoke, and asked him why he had come up to the top floor to smoke anyway.”
Curtis then confronted the man, with the couple demanding he call the police – only for him to refuse. Their confrontation escalated in the hotel lobby, when furious Curtis knocked the man out. Laura’s boyfriend was hauled before the courts and ordered to pay a fine.
Laura with her boyfriend Curtis, who was fined after punching the man she said was filming her (Image: Triangle News)
Laura said: “Curtis went over and grabbed him . He said ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ and ran off . Curtis ended up smacking him, and knocked him out.
“He got taken to court for that, which resulted in him getting a big fine.”
She says if the hotel had called the police, Curtis would never have responded so aggressively. And Laura also criticised blasted local police for sending 15 officers to arrest him.
She said they ignored her pleas to collar the security guard, who she also claimed deleted the incriminating footage from his phone.
The apartments the couple were staying in (Image: Triangle News)
The couple were forced to borrow money from relatives to pay construction worker Curtis’ fine and moved then hotel. Laura claimed she was fobbed-off by local authorities when she tried to report the crime again afterwards – and also lashed out at holiday company Thomas Cook for their handling of the incident. She claimed the company initially said the case was being investigated “at the highest level” – but says she was later asked by a staff member “What do you want us to do?”
The trauma of Laura’s ordeal saw her visit her GP when she arrived home, with the doctor signing her off with stress.
Laura said: “The whole thing has been so stressful and upsetting . I’m disgusted with the way it has been handled.
The couple said the room was out of the way (Image: Triangle News)
“I’m a victim, but I’ve been made to feel as if I’ve done something wrong . I know Curtis shouldn’t have hit the bloke, and I’ve told him as much, but he was so angry, and most blokes would have done the same in his situation.”
A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook said that as far as they knew no further complaints had been received about the security guard.
“We are speaking with the hotel,” she added.