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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
Modern menace of hooliganism
Trouble at Millwall
Violence seems to have shifted away from the grounds
More violent, better organised football hooligans are menacing the game but the National Criminal Intelligence Service has unveiled new strategies to target them.

Bryan Drew, head of specialist intelligence at NCIS, told BBC News Online: "There is a nasty, ugly and anti-social element in society that clings parasitically to football and just won't give up."

The latest NCIS annual report shows the number of arrests has risen by 8% compared to last year, with troublemakers shifting away from football grounds to pubs, train stations and town centres.

Football hooliganism has developed into an increasingly mobile problem bearing many of the characteristics of other, more serious areas of organised crime

Bryan Drew
The report concludes that hooligans are no longer a sports issue - they are an 'organised crime group'.

Mr Drew said: "With better transport and telecommunications links, football hooliganism has developed into an increasingly mobile problem bearing many of the characteristics of other, more serious areas of organised crime.

"Travelling supporters provide a market for drugs as well as cover, through weight of numbers, for drug dealers.

"We also think that payment card fraud may help these organised groups to finance travel and other costs."

'Nauseating problem'

Mr Drew said much still needed to be done to stamp out "this nauseating criminal problem."

"Dealing with football hooliganism within and in the close vicinity of stadiums has been increasingly successful but it has displaced the problem."

Solutions to the problem
More use of banning orders
A percentage of income from football to be used for policing
More co-operation from clubs and governing bodies.
More public support
NCIS wants greater use of Football Banning Orders, introduced a year ago as part of the Football Disorder Act.

Mr Drew said: "We are obviously pleased that over 500 Football Banning Orders are no in force.

"That is 500 less people being afforded the opportunity of wrecking this magnificent sport for the vast majority of football fans."

But he said NCIS would like to see magistrates across the country apply the letter of law more rigorously when dealing with hooligans.

Revenue release

The organisation would also like to see more use of the powers available to restrict the movement of individuals within the UK.

NCIS has also called for a percentage of the vast amount of income generated by football to be pumped into policing on match days - both in the stadium and in areas where trouble is erupting.

NCIS also believes greater participation by the general public is also a successful means of combating hooliganism.

"It is time for the vast majority of decent, football-loving fans to stand up and distance themselves from the small but criminal minority that shame the good names of the clubs and the country they purport to represent," said Mr Drew.

People are being urged to report anyone involved in the planning of criminal activity in and around football by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The BBC's Lucy Atherton reports
"Fear of violence has already resulted in a ban on visiting supporters in some cities"
Home Office minister Bob Ainsworth
speaks to the BBC's Steve Kingstone
Dave Woodhall, Football Supporters Association
"Virtually every year, there is a new act ofParliament to combat football violence"

Talking PointFORUM
Violent fans
Can they be stopped? Steven Powell quizzed
See also:

14 Jul 00 | UK Politics
MPs back football thug crackdown
07 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Hooligan Bill unveiled
15 Aug 01 | Football
Police fears for Germany game
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