Following the article in the Algemeen Dagblad of 1 October and the quotes of Frank Wijnveld, CrowdProfessionals wants to give a broader explanation of the thoughts about football safety in the Netherlands.

A new vision because the Central Informationoffice of Football Hooliganism in its annual report notes that there is an increase in incidents off 26% within stadiums. In our opinion, not very alarming but we think now it’s the time to organise and tackle these problems to prevent a structural decline. We put the positive perception of the FAN at first and then create all kinds of measures keeping that perception in mind.

Individual or integral

It is important for  the organization of security around football matches to see it as a holistic/integral challenge; much more and better than it is today. ALL parties at local level should more explicitly feel and take their responsibility; club, police, local community, department of justice but also the supporters’ clubs.

Of course, the central government, just as the KNVB, has a role in all this, but in the end it is important that local security partners work together effectively and get the job done operationally. This requires team spirit, mutual respect, trust and understanding of positions and interests, but also quality and a common will to receive visitors in a pleasant and safe environment properly. To stay in sports terms: “The will to win and be the best must be present and proven”. When on local level this organizational culture is achieved in the integrated approach, supporters, occasional visitors, business people and other sportslovers  are winner.

Innovation or budget

Nowadays, many innovative solutions are available to identify and tackle perpetrators effectively. These resources can be deployed in the background. Incidentally, too often budget is leading in making choices. Broader social costs are not included although they will significantly decrease.

At national level, in our opinion, there needs to be further discussion on the model of stadium bans and the effective follow-up. England is therefore just a random example where it is effectively controlled. Yes, they have a different legislation and approach, but let’s have an open discussion here without a priori to limit off matters.

Cooperation or more rules

Back to the local level. Within the various local entities there is much personal quality and willingness to cooperate which is important to really be able to take the responsibility. Every week, after all Mayors are supported from this forum, licenses are granted and restrictions are written and tens of thousands of football fans are received in stadiums. A lot of responsibility!

Not always all the actors are adequately equipped for their task or the stadium is safe enough. The local integrated organization must be therefore substantively strengthened again to make steps forward in the coming period. That does not have to mean more rules, legal options, or ME, but rather more (personal) quality, connectivity and content. Too often unconsciously unnecessary risks are taken or things ”just went well”.

Service or safety

The FAN should be central to the organization in its approach. Football matches are after all public events that are frequented by visitors (guests!) who want to have a fun, exciting time in a welcoming, safe environment. They want value for their money, and rightly so. The quality of the competition cannot be influenced, but everything around it can. Safety should thereby be an obvious condition. By looking real well at the (real) needs of visitors, supporters and guests and fulfil this to the best one creates goodwill and commitment. We believe it is important to encourage this commitment actively in order to solve other issues.

Too often rules or measures are introduced without making clear (enough) why they apply or be imposed. That doesn’t fit in 2014 anymore. Communicate and collaborate with supporters not only provides sufficient awareness of situations and rules, but also teaches the organization about the needs and experiences of visitors, supporters, business associates and other guests. The automatic consequence is that deviant behaviour must be dealt with appropriately. This is to ensure that the vast majority of the visitors is enabled to get their desired positive experience. By investing in the visitor he will proactively disapprove in a much earlier stadium misconduct of other visitors.

Affordable, innovative, integrated and service-oriented security is the key

This is a somewhat different route to  where Safety, Security  AND Service interact, the experience, atmosphere and hospitality improve, supporters are winners and the police deployment is reduced because all parties involved fulfil their role. Police capacity will and can be “otherwise used” ; effective investigation followed by successful prosecution by the public prosecutor is on the long run more effective than individual short term ad hoc measures.