Police are stepping up patrols at Newhaven Port this week as football fans begin travelling to France for the Euro 2016 tournament.
The tournament, which runs from June 10 to July 10, is expected to see a major increase in passengers at both Newhaven Port and at Gatwick airport as fans travel to the games.
In light of last year’s terror attacks, police are also urging supporters to be alert and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity to police or stadium officials.
Sussex Police Chief Inspector Justina Beeken said: “There will of course be a large police presence in France throughout the tournament and we’d like to remind people to consider the laws of the country they are in. Please take care and also consider the wider picture, such as the terror threat.
“To ensure the safety of those travelling, we will have increased patrols at Gatwick Airport and Newhaven port, so please expect extra checks. Be cooperative and don’t be alarmed if you are subject to searches or questioning – we are there to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for everyone.
“Those who intend to travel are also advised to take care of themselves and their belongings. Don’t leave any valuables unattended, arrive early at matches to avoid problems at the gate, and expect heavy traffic and big crowds.”
Anyone subject to a Football Banning Order is prohibited from travelling to the tournament.
Back in England, Sussex Police say extra officers will be on duty across the county on high-profile match days in order to respond to any incidents of disruption and disorder.
Police say they will be working closely with local authorities, as well as pubs and clubs, to deter trouble before it starts.
Chief Insp Beeken said: “Any individuals brought to our attention will be dealt with efficiently to ensure their behaviour does not affect others, the vast majority of which will be law-abiding fans out to watch their team and have a good time.”
Officers will also be increasing patrols as part of Operation Dragonfly – the summer campaign run jointly by Surrey and Sussex Police’s Road Policing Unit to crackdown on drink and drug-drivers.
Both forces are also stepping up resources to respond to reports of domestic abuse.
Chief Insp Beeken added: “Reports of domestic abuse can increase around the time of big sporting events such as this, and we would encourage any victims to come forward. All reports of domestic abuse will be taken seriously and dealt with appropriately.
“It’s important to note that the counties of Surrey and Sussex are very diverse places. They each have a large number of residents, visitors and students from overseas whose national teams may be involved in the tournament, and we want them to be able to enjoy the tournament as well. They will, of course, be subject to the same rules as everyone else.
“Our main message to fans is to have fun and enjoy Euro 2016, but please behave and drink responsibility – or be prepared to face the consequences.”
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