Essex: High visibility police patrols will be carried out to maintain order as England take on Italy in first World Cup match

The opening game of the World Cup between Brazil and Croatia (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

The opening game of the World Cup between Brazil and Croatia (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama) - Credit: AP

Seventy-five specially briefed police officers will carry out high visibility patrols to maintain order in town centres across Essex during tonight’s first England game of the World Cup.

Essex Police is urging football fans to “enjoy the game, support your team - but don’t overstep the mark”.

Officers will be working throughout the month-long tournament to ensure fans can watch the game in safety, whether at home or in the pub.

Chief Superintendent Andy Prophet said: “Essex Police has planned carefully to ensure we have the right number of officers working at key stages during the World Cup.

“The tournament is a celebration of football and a chance to feel national pride. It is however just game and can never be an excuse for violence or disorder. We’ll be working hard to make sure football fans and their families and friends are able to enjoy the matches safely.

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“If you chose to watch any of the games in a town centre you will see officers on duty. They will be equipped, trained and on the ground ready to deal with any disorder before it happens.

“I hope everyone enjoys the World Cup but experience tells us we need to plan for the minority who spoil things. Very often drinking too much alcohol is at the root of the problem. My message to anyone planning to go out tonight is have a great time, enjoy the game but please be sensible. Everything in moderation, don’t wake up in police cell regretting a moment’s madness.

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“Anyone who does overstep the mark, spoiling the match for everyone else, will be dealt with promptly and professionally by officers. Where appropriate, that will include pursing matters through the court system.”

The county’s force is also putting in place extra resources to deal with the rise in domestic abuse that can occur when Englan matches occur,

Detective Superintendent Ewen Wilson said: “There are a number of reasons why the rise in domestic abuse is linked to the times when England are playing a match.

“These can include such things as stress, poor anger management mental health issues, depression and substance abuse.

“In addition, emotional stressors are combined with situational factors - the tournament is held in the summer and is associated with warmer temperatures and increased alcohol consumption and fans can often identify with team success or failure as if it was their own, which can have an impact on their behaviour.”

The Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse campaign - the largest ever led by Essex Police and Essex County Council - has information and advice about domestic abuse.

To participate in the conversation use the hashtag #tweetyourfeet on social media to say #NoToDomesticAbuse.

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