Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Once again Rainer Wendt, head of the German Police Union, DPolG, has stated his belief that clubs should pay for police costs.
And once again he has used the thoroughly embarrassing and quite frankly idiotic “millionaires in shorts” comparison.
In fact reading his comments one has the uneasy feeling that the DPolG spokesperson mistakenly handed Wendt last years press release as briefing notes.
And although we are definitely critical of the way in which makes his case, in principle he is not wrong.
One can’t always keep paying for ever more, and ever more and ever more police.
But why not just have fewer police.
Madness we know.
But the fact remains that the biggest problem associated with the policing from football in Germany is the attitude of the authorities and the deeply held belief that only with a large number of police can you effectively control a crowd.
We’ve witnessed on many occasions how civil servants, journalists and politicians with little or no experience of football crowds and football fans have quite literally shat themselves ahead of a big match.
And when one fears for one’s security one gets in more police.
And when things go wrong it is always the fans who are at fault.
Yes, it is often the fans who start the problems…but the fact remains that the police are there to prevent problems and so when they do their job correctly there should be no problems. And there job isn’t simply to react to a volatile situation.
Yet time and again we observe how schoolboy errors and inefficient leadership results in a violent scenarios.
And time and again we read the next day how the poor police were helpless, despite the numbers of officers they had….
The key to successful policing of football matches in correctly trained officers, from the basic ranks up to the leaders.
But how many are there?
We know how many theses have been written in Sachsens Police college about dealing with football fans , but what with the basic ranks?
And what happens to the thesis? And more importantly the thesis writers? Are they on the front line?
We do know that some fan project leaders do go to police colleges and speak to leading officers. But not enough.
If the police are really interested in reducing the numbers of officers and the associated costs of policing football matches in Germany the should improve the training of officers and the methods by which police prepare for matches.
But do they really have an interest in that.
Or would that potentially mean fewer officers?
The commentators in the German press will no doubt miss the point again and say “don”t be daft, you can’t make the clubs pay”
Of course you can.
The point is no one should have to pay as much as currently is the case.
The police decide the fixture plan. The police decide how many officers to send to a match. The police decide how the crowd will be policed. The police decide what it costs.
And so only the police can lower the costs.