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By Connie Osborne Thursday 12 June 2014 Updated: 12/06 23:52
FOOTBALL fans are being urged to drink sensibly and not 'kick-off' during The World Cup.
West Mercia Police are clamping down on alcohol-related violence, domestic abuse and drink driving, during this year's World Cup coverage.
The competition starts tonight (Thursday) with England's group matches taking place on Saturday (June 14), Thursday, June 19 and Tuesday, June 24.
Officers are reassuring residents that although most fans will be law abiding and peaceful, they will be on hand to deal with any incidents.
Under new powers anyone committing domestic abuse could be banned from returning to the address where the assault happened and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days.
Police will also be working to identify potential repeat offenders by stepping up patrols, briefing local officers and personally visiting the former offender.
Video cameras will also be worn by officers when attending calls to domestic abuse incidents, while a dedicated investigative team and staff will be able to fast track enquiries.
Social networking sites will also be used by police and partner agencies to inform, raise awareness and challenge the public's views about domestic violence.
Det Supt Stephen Cullen said: "Our statistics indicate reported domestic abuse can increase during international football tournaments by 27 per cent on days when England plays.
"Heightened emotions and alcohol among the population as a whole are all contributory factors.
"We are not saying that football fans are more likely to perpetrate domestic abuse, but that football fans make up a wide cross-section of society, and domestic abuse happens throughout all levels of society."
Supt Steve Owen, who is leading the operation, added: "A small minority may use the tournament as an opportunity for anti-social behaviour and we will have additional resources available across the counties to provide a reassuring presence as we try to prevent offences from happening."
Visit www.westmercia.police.uk for more information or follow @wmerciapolice on Twitter.
Victims of domestic abuse can call Women's Aid 24 hour helpine 0800 980 3331.
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