• MySTV

'Significant' safety risk to fans at Scottish football

Major review of policing in Scottish football highlights inconsistencies in safety checks.

'Significant' concerns over the safety of football fans inside stadiums have been highlighted in a major review of policing matches in Scotland.

In the report, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts recommended a separate, urgent review over "inconsistencies in the management of safety certificates" issued by councils.

Policing at football in Scotland is generally fit for purpose, the review found.

However, it highlighted cases of clubs deliberately selling more tickets than their stadium's capacity and safety certificates being issued without inspections being carried out.

Unsafe temporary seating was erected at grounds while Rangers were playing in the lower leagues, while tickets were sold for areas that didn't exist, the report revealed.

DCC Roberts, the most senior police officer in the UK with responsibility for football, suggested a multi-agency review should be carried out to "establish appropriate governance and inspection regime for venues used for football and other events".

The South Yorkshire Police chief said the report was not his personal opinion but what people involved in Scottish football had said.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1429706-fans-injured-after-being-crushed-at-celtic-v-rangers-game/ | default

The report, published on Wednesday, was commissioned by Police Scotland just weeks after a crush outside Celtic Park following an Old Firm game.

DCC Roberts said: "The review highlights the excellent capability of Police Scotland in policing football as well as specific areas where the service can develop further good practice and ensure appropriate consistency.

"The Scottish public should be confident that Police Scotland has a proven track record of effectively delivering all manner of high-profile events, football included, and has the requisite capability to work with relevant stakeholders to discharge its responsibilities in keeping football fans safe.

"As such, its operational policing model for football is certainly fit for purpose. The policing of football in Scotland compares well to operation across other European countries and has some excellent examples of good practice, which others should seek to learn from.

"I will be sharing the learning with the rest of UK Policing in order that we can promulgate the good practice from Scotland as many of the recommendations identify issues common to us all."

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities said "treat their community safety role with high priority".

COSLA president Alison Evison said: "We take the licensing of our stadiums very seriously. That is why we have a strong record of safety on football events activity.

"Scotland's councils engage with partners to ensure the protection of our local communities who attend football matches and other events across the country.

"We treat our community safety role with high priority.

"Going forward if there are improvements identified of course local government and COSLA will work positively with partners to find solutions."

Police Scotland said it was encouraged and reassured by the findings but not complacent.

DCC Will Kerr, of Police Scotland, said: "Police Scotland has an enviable reputation around how it polices large events, including sporting events such as the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games, and I'm pleased that this independent review has highlighted this.

"But it is important for a learning organisation such as Police Scotland to reflect on areas where we may be able to improve our procedures or learn from good practice elsewhere.

"Therefore, we will consider the recommendations relating to policing and report to the Scottish Police Authority in due course.

"We have raised other issues outwith the remit of policing with the appropriate and relevant authorities."

Key findings in the report include:

  • Police Scotland has significant capabilities, fitting for second largest force in the UK.
  • It has experienced and highly competent commanders.
  • There are inconsistencies with fan safety across the nation.
  • Despite some good examples fan engagement can be improved.
  • The role of FOCUS (Football Coordination Unit for Scotland) should be reviewed.
  • Excellent examples of diversionary activity.
  • A need to make better use of football banning orders. 
Rangers v Spartak Moscow was one of the matches observed.
Rangers v Spartak Moscow was one of the matches observed. SNS

Games observed during review

  • Rangers v Spartak Moscow, Thursday, October 25, Europa League, Ibrox.
  • St Johnstone v Hearts, Wednesday, December 5, Premiership, McDiarmid Park.
  • Celtic v Kilmarnock, Saturday, December 8, Premiership, Celtic Park.
  • Livingston v Hearts, Friday, December 14, Premiership, Toni Macaroni Arena.
  • Hibs v Rangers, Wednesday, December 19, Premiership, Easter Road.
  • Rangers v Celtic, Saturday, December 29, Premiership, Ibrox.

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.