Police are warning they will clamp down hard on anyone causing trouble during the European Football Championships.
The force is warning any potential trouble makers that extra patrols will be on duty across Sussex during and after high-profile matches to respond to any public disorder incidents.
And local officers have been working with local authorities and licensees from pubs and clubs to deter trouble before it starts – by, for example, serving drinks in plastic or polycarbonate glasses.
“Our main aim is to make this a safe and trouble-free tournament,” said Superintendent Grenville Wilson.
“Our approach will be friendly, fair but firm. The vast majority of supporters are law-abiding and peaceful, but there are a few who use events like the Championships as an excuse to cause trouble. We don’t want it and we won’t put up with it.
“In addition to extra police patrols, we have a wide variety of legal powers which can and will be used if necessary.
“We also have powers to stop individuals drinking in public, and powers to require people to disperse from specific areas, if we think they are likely to cause or are causing trouble. Arrest can follow if they fail to comply.
“Think of the dispersal order as the yellow and red card scheme. A yellow card means you must leave the area. If you don’t you get the red card – arrest.
“Sussex also has a large number of visitors and students from abroad, and indeed people from abroad who now live here, and whose teams may progress through the tournament and who want to enjoy the occasion.
“We will be affording them protection throughout the force area as well.”
A police spokesman added, “If you are planning to watch matches in pubs, clubs or other venues in Sussex, enjoy yourself and have a great time, but also; Do be drink aware – watch your purse/ wallet/ phone; plan ahead, go to the cash point before you have a drink, know how you’re getting home at the end of the evening, know your route etc; remember there will be firm but fair and friendly policing.
“Enjoy yourself but we will not tolerate illegal behaviour; if you aren’t going to any of these venues;
“Be reassured – police are experienced in dealing with such events; Please continue to go about your normal business. Police and partner agencies will be working hard to minimise any disruption
“Police also have messages for specific group which could be affected; to shopkeepers - don’t sell alcohol to under-age children or drunken people;
“To partners and families -–don’t be a victim of any domestic abuse, report it. Extra patrols are available to respond to just such calls. The police will take it seriously and support you. We can help.
“To people from minority communities – we will also be on the alert for any attempts to victimise you.”