South Yorkshire police chief arrives in Russia to oversee policing of English fans during World Cup
South Yorkshire's Deputy Chief Constable is in Russia to oversee the policing of English football fans during the World Cup.
DCC Mark Roberts is heading up a delegation of police officers from across the UK who have been deployed to work with the Russian authorities during the World Cup.
POLICE: Boys threatened by teen with knife in Sheffield parkThe officers include 'spotters' who will be looking for troublemakers, with the rest on hand to support Russian colleagues, offer advice and intervene at the first sign of trouble.
But DCC Roberts, the National Police Chiefs Council's lead officer for policing football, said he expects troublesome fans to be few and far between, with 1,700 known or suspected hooligans having had their passports seized to prevent them travelling to the tournament.
In South Yorkshire 129 fans were banned from travelling.
TRAGEDY: Dad-of-two from Sheffield found dead on stag weekend in BenidormREAD MORE: Man arrested over death in Barnsley town centreSpeaking ahead of England's opening game of the World Cup campaign against Tunisia tonight, DCC Roberts praised the behaviour of fans.
"We expect around 2,000 at the game tonight and around 15,000 over the duration of the tournament and so far it could not have gone any better," he said.
"The welcome fans have had from the Russian police and from the moment they stepped foot off the planes has been first class."
He said British officers are in Russia as 'cultural interpreters' to assess and explain the actions of fans to prevent any misunderstandings and situations spiralling out of control.
"Systems are working really well. There is a lot of co-ordination between all the police forces of the countries involved in the World Cup.
"We are there as cultural interpreters to try and explain the behaviour of our fans in terms of what is an issue and what is just high jinks. If the Russian police feel that fans are are getting too rowdy for example then that's when we will step in and intervene but I am not anticipating any trouble.
"The fans who have travelled here are genuine fans here for the football. The hard work and planning done beforehand back home has led to 1,700 fans with banning orders surrendering their passports to prevent them travelling.
"So far it has been an absolute pleasure to be involved with the fans over here."