Minutes Of Meeting with FoCUS.

31
Jan
2015

Posted By kevingraham

Posted in Articles, FAC

images

 

We were invited to a meeting with CI Stuart McGregor last week, the new Head of FoCUS.  The aim of the meeting was to get as many points across as possible about Celtic fans views of FoCUS and the current methods of Policing the Offensive Behaviour Act.   

 

The minutes are below and also the guidance mentioned in the text is at the bottom of the page. 

 

Meeting with FoCUS, Celtic Park, Friday January 23

The meeting was held at the request of CI McGregor in the lead up to the Celtic v Rangers match on Sunday 1 February in order to ensure the fans are fully aware of the global audience this match will attract and that they understand their responsibilities in terms of acting appropriately.  It was also an opportunity for FoCUS to better understand the views of Celtic fans towards the FoCUS and explain the purpose of the unit.  It was also hoped that through ongoing discussion all parties can agree on a way of working which allows fans to attend Celtic matches unhindered whilst allowing the Police to carry out their duties.

During the meeting it was highlighted that sections of Celtic fans receive a disproportionate level of attention from FoCUS Officers and we would like this reviewed to ensure that all fans are treated in the same way.  CI McGregor reassured the group that all fans are treated equally and that attendance at matches by FoCUS was based on information and intelligence from a variety of sources.  The group was also informed that the tactics deployed are consistent throughout the country, regardless of the team.

It was further highlighted that the way filming is conducted amongst fans is seen to be antagonistic and it was requested that camera usage was reviewed.  CI McGregor highlighted that cameras can only ever be used in strictly controlled circumstances.  There were instances highlighted where this was not the case and it was requested that this doesn’t happen in future.  Insp Marian Maclean highlighted that the average period of time filming for the duration of last season was 3 minutes per match. CI McGregor agreed to reassess the tactics in relation to camera usage by FoCUS and report back to the group at the next meeting.

There was a brief discussion to ask about the FoCUS filming at the home match against Motherwell on Wednesday, January 21.  It was confirmed that this was not carried out by FoCUS officers as they were not present at the match.  It was subsequently verified that this was carried out by Divisional Police who were on duty and related to an add on to a song FTQ, on seeking further advice it was confirmed that fans who sing this add on would face the possibility of arrest under the Act.

A large part of the meeting was spent discussing the issues which result from the Offensive Behaviour Act.  It was highlighted that fans feel that they are in the dark and in many respects this is seen as trial and error with supporters being placed in a position where they are unsure if they are committing a crime until they are effectively arrested.  It was requested that fans are provided with a song sheet, however it was pointed out that this is too problematic on the basis that in many cases the add ons are seen as the offensive aspect rather than the words of the specific song.  It was therefore highlighted that a song sheet would not resolve the problem and would in many cases simply confuse the issue further.

Insp Maclean informed the group that guidance has been given to all clubs previously in respect of appropriate behaviour and whilst not in the form of a ‘song sheet’, the main thrust of the guidance was sufficient to allow supporters to assess what is appropriate and what is not.  It was agreed that Police Scotland will produce further guidance to Celtic FC and this would be passed to the Club in order that it could be further communicated to the wider support.

After much discussion on why Celtic fans have such contempt for the Offensive Behaviour Act, CI McGregor did point out that whilst the legislation is in place it is the duty of Police Scotland to enforce it however it was agreed that if the guidance is shared it will assist fans in making more informed choices.

Whilst the vast majority of the time was spent discussing the Act and the difficulties it presents to Celtic fans, it was considered that it was worthwhile to hold the meeting in order that fans in attendance could get their points across and lay everything out in respect of their feelings towards FoCUS and Police Scotland based on recent events.  It was agreed that it would be worthwhile to maintain the dialogue and keep the discussion going by holding a quarterly meeting in order that we can try to take things forward in a positive manner

 

OB Guidance 300115

 

2 Comments

  1. Posted January 31, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Right behind this initiative. Dialogue and partnership beat confrontation and conflict any day. Well done to everybody.

    H H

  2. Phaco
    Posted January 31, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I do not trust the police or any other establishment figure of this nation one little bit. Masonic thieves every one of them.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*