Leeds United fans can help fight terrorism

FOOTBALL: Leeds fans by the Billy Bremner at Elland Road.
FOOTBALL: Leeds fans by the Billy Bremner at Elland Road.
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Police are urging football fans to help them tackle terrorism by reporting any security concerns at matches.

The call was issued at the start of the new football season and forms part of efforts to encourage all members of the public - including those in Leeds - to be “counter-terror citizens”.

Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth, the national police co-ordinator for protective security, emphasised that there is no specific threat to football grounds.

But he cited the explosions outside the Stade de France in Paris in 2015 and the attack at Manchester Arena last year –which killed 22 people including Wendy Fawell of Otley, Sorrell Leczkowski of Adel and Leeds Beckett student Courtney Boyle – as evidence that such locations can be a terror target.

He said: “We know from what we’ve seen on the ground, and also from terrorist rhetoric, that they are interested in attacking crowded places generally, and that would include stadia.”

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Officers have been working with the Premier League, the English Football League (EFL) and individual clubs to enhance security measures and raise awareness of the threat among staff and fans. Nearly a quarter of a million sports event stewards have been issued with a short guide giving key advice to help protect crowds of spectators. Mr Aldworth said: “A lot of places will have very overt security like dogs, they will have a policing presence outside, they will have a strong security and stewarding presence on the inside. But, importantly, there will be quite a lot of security measures that people won’t see.”