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Police prepare for domestic abuse surge as England start World Cup campaign

5:33 pm, 17th June 2018

Several forces have joined the Give Domestic Abuse the Red Card campaign after research found domestic violence increased when England both lost and won matches during previous tournaments.

Analysis by Lancaster University found during the last World Cup in 2014 incidents of domestic abuse in Lancashire rose by 38% when England lost.

When they won or drew abuse increased by 26% compared to days when there was no England match.

The day after an England match, incidents were 11% higher, the research found.

In 2014 there was an average number of 79.3 reported incidents when England played compared with 58.2 when the team did not play.

Researchers also found reports of domestic abuse increased with every World Cup, with an average of 64 in 2002 rising to 99 in 2010.

In Hampshire, which has the lowest arrest rate for domestic abuse in England and Wales, police will deploy five extra dedicated domestic abuse response cars on England match days.

There will also be 10 extra officers to protect victims and gather evidence, starting on Monday when England play Tunisia in Volgograd.

Chief Inspector Mike Haines said: “We know the tournament leads to an increase in both alcohol-related violence and domestic abuse.

“These additional officers will spend more time with victims of abuse and help them with safeguarding.”

Devon and Cornwall Police, with Dorset Police, have been raising awareness and warned those who commit domestic abuse “risk arrest” and could be banned from seeing their family.

Lancashire Police has also been raising awareness of the penalties for offenders, while promoting advice and information for victims.

In Lincolnshire police said they are expecting a similar spike of violence as 2014 when England has its first game in Russia on Monday.

Chief Superintendent Darren Downs said: “Twenty years ago you used to get fights breaking out in pubs and clubs. But nowadays there are not the same problems as before.

“Most people enjoy a barbecue at a pub or go home for a barbecue to watch the game at home. But it is domestic violence that gives us concerns. All our resources will be available at the relevant times.”

Cleveland Police in Middlesbrough is deploying a domestic abuse support car with a support worker and a police officer during all England matches.

The force said during the 2014 World Cup 897 domestic abuse incidents were reported to them.

Specialist Crime Superintendent Anne-Marie Salwey said: “The World Cup, as with other major sporting events, is often associated with an increase in incidents of domestic abuse because of factors such as increased alcohol consumption and an increase in tension.”

“For those who refuse to address their behaviour our message is clear; we will not tolerate domestic abuse and will take action against anyone who uses physical or mental abuse to control, coerce or harm a member of their family.

“Football can never be the reason for domestic abuse and will be shown the red card.”

England face Panama on 24 June and then play Belgium on 28 June.

Police patrols across the country are expected to increase for the World Cup final on 15 July.