The European footballchampionships 2000 held in Belgium and the Netherlands were characterised by an unprecedented level of international police cooperation. A year before the start of the tournament, the project Police Expertise Euro 2000 was set up to record experiences gained and lessons learnt. The project focused on preparations, the international police cooperation effort, information management, the cooperation between police and stewards and police deployment and demeanor.
The research and evaluation project was unique in several ways:
- the evaluation had been carefully planned beforehand and was based on data gathered explicitly for the purpose of evaluating;
- the data were gathered in a systematic and stuctured way with a maximum of objectivity;
- the project was aimed fully at learning for the future, and not at accountability;
- the project had a European perspective and input from police officers from other European countries involved in Euro 2000 was explicitly sought.
The evaluation identified areas for improvement or clarification, and in 2001, the EU-Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs adopted a new version of the Manual de recomendaciones para la cooperación policial internacional y de medidas de prevención y lucha contra la violencia y los desórdenes relacionados con los partidos de fútbol de dimensión internacional en los que se vea afectado al menos un Estado miembro (http://europa.eu.int/scadplus/leg/es/lvb/l33085.htm).
Following this, the EU decided that "For exchange of information in relation to a football event and with a view to the necessary international police cooperation in connection with football matches with an international dimension, it is crucially important to establish a national football information point of a police nature in each Member State."
Mantenimiento del orden durante la Euro 2000:
cooperación policial internacional, manejo de información y despliegue policial
Police behavioural profile
On the basis of both the results of previous systematic observational research on riots and practical experiences, police authorities developed a "Police behavioural profile Euro 2000" to bring about an equal influence on the behaviour of visitors. The behavioural impact stressed that the primary approach should be preventive and proactive. In fact, the profile was not consistently adhered to and two policing styles could be discerned, labelled "high profile" and "low profile". A clear difference existed between the two policing styles. The difference was clear both from systematic observations carried out in each of eight host cities and from the qualitative observations of foreign police officers. Characteristic of the "low profile" approach was the presence of a substantial, but limited number of police officers in daily uniform, patrolling in pairs or small groups, interacting with fans. These interactions were friendly, but transgressions by fans were responded to quickly. In the low impact approach, police deployment seemed to be based more on intelligence and on information provided by spotters' teams. For the "high profile" approach on average three times as many officers were visible in the streets. These officers were more often dressed in riot gear and accompanied by their riot vehicles; they formed larger groups, which made it less easy to approach them.
The large numbers of police present in the "high profile" cities did not correlate with a smaller number of incidents in those cities. On the contrary, there were more incidents in "high profile" cities. One would expect more incidents around "increased risk" matches, but in fact, incidents were most frequent in "high profile" cities on days without increased risk! A closer inspection of the data revealed that this figure could be attributed to incidents in just one of the three "high profile" cities. Qualitative observations suggest that in this city (as opposed to others) collective police action in the form of stopping fans or removing them was frequently taken prior to (rather than as a response to) incidents.
Based on the results of this study, the "low profile", friendly but firm approach can be considered good practice. It is possible to maintain public order effectively (and efficiently, considering the fact that less officers were needed) in this way while at the same time contributing to the festive nature of an event. The "low profile" approach is not a laissez-faire approach: it involves officers actively responding at an early stage to relatively minor infractions of the preset tolerance limits. There were no differences in the "strictness" with which officers acted in high and low profile cities. The findings indicate that an approach that de-emphasises ingroup- outgroup differentiation can be effective in preventing incidents of collective aggression.