SUSSEX Police are planning for a potential increase in domestic abuse incidents during and after some World Cup games this summer.
Officers will be specifically tasked at peak times during and after England matches to help protect victims and families from abuse.
During and after the four matches England played in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup, reports of domestic abuse increased significantly.
The evening of the first game saw 27 such reports compared with 16 on the same day the previous June.
The figure for the second game was 31 as opposed to 20 the previous year, for the third game there were 37 reports against 14 the previous year, and for the quarter-final game on June 27 there were 43 reports against 24 the previous year.
Alongside their response role, the officers will be kept up to date about previous or likely victims who may be particularly vulnerable, and about suspected or proven offenders who may pose a higher risk.
They will proactively visit individual victims and offenders in appropriate cases. In addition there will be teams of specialist investigators to carry out further enquiries.
Detective Superintendent Paul Furnell, of the Public Protection Branch, said: “The patrolling units will help provide a prompt response to domestic violence incidents, and officers will be equipped with video cameras to help secure vital evidence.
“For the vast majority of people who watch matches, the games are enjoyable events that draw people together. But for a small minority football provides the catalyst for alcohol abuse and violent behaviour, which can be particularly dangerous in some relationships. We also work with a variety of other support agencies to tailor safety plans for victims at high risk of serious harm.”
The 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk.