Page last updated at 05:18 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 06:18 UK

Old Firm domestic abuse warning


The move is in response to rising domestic violence on match days

Police are to visit homes with a history of domestic abuse ahead of this weekend's Old Firm title clash.

It comes in response to figures published after the last Glasgow derby which showed a 41% increase in domestic violence on match days.

Strathclyde Police said many of the incidents after Old Firm games were fuelled by excessive drinking.

Up to 1,000 extra officers have also been drafted in to help prevent violence and disorder.

Officers will visit pubs on Saturday to ensure alcohol is not being sold to those under the influence or to those under 18.

Statistics from the force revealed huge spikes in violence, disorder and domestic abuse on the day of Old Firm games.

On the last three occasions when Celtic and Rangers have played serious crime was 113% higher than during any other weekend.

Disorder and antisocial behaviour peaked on three occasions since December 2008 and all three dates coincide with Old Firm matches.

The average number of domestic abuse incidents on non Old Firm match days is 123. On Old Firm days that number rises to 173.

There is no excuse for violent behaviour just because a football match is on
Chief Constable Stephen House
Strathclyde Police

Ahead of Saturday's game police will carry out domestic bail and curfew checks, stop and searches, and will visit and issue warnings to individuals where intelligence suggests that they have been previously involved in violence or domestic abuse.

Chief Constable Stephen House said: "The spikes in the figures suggest crimes can occur more readily when people are under the influence of alcohol and in particular on the days of Old Firm games.

"There is no excuse for violent behaviour just because a football match is on.

"The police have a responsibility to enforce the law and that's exactly what we are going to do but individuals also have a role to play, they should act responsibly in their homes and in pubs and clubs."

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill added: "These statistics from Strathclyde Police show a worrying picture of increasing violence, and domestic abuse in particular, around football matches.

"What we are saying is watch and enjoy the football, by all means have a drink - but don't get drunk, get violent and end up in the cells."

Representatives from Celtic and Rangers football clubs welcomed the measures.

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