Section 27

Take a moment to read through this campaign on the Football Supporters Federation site:

The gist of it is, the Football Supporters Federation has teamed up with civil rights organisation, Liberty to fight in favour of the rights of people who have been detained under Section 27 of the Violent Crime reduction Act. Stoke fans got the brunt of this in a recent away game to Manchester (United) when a group of them (80 fans) were individually served and all of them escorted back to Stoke. Their crime? Drinking in a pub, and hardly singing. In fact, they sound like a boring lot, but it's no crime to stand there and have a pre-match pint. And before you assume Stoke = troublemakers, the 80 in question were official away-match members of the club.

What is Section 27?

Section 27 legislation allows police to move someone from a specified area for a period of up to 48 hours. No offence needs to have been committed for the act to be enforced: the legislation gives police the power to move on people who they say pose a risk of alcohol-related disorder.

This is meant to be a specified locality but in the instances we’ve heard of police have moved people across the entire country under threat of arrest if they don’t comply. No hard evidence appears to be required, and no crime needs to have been committed.

The legislation was clearly designed to allow the moving on of small numbers of individuals who have been misbehaving under the influence of alcohol - for example, clearing areas outside of nightclubs at closing time. It was not designed to enable, in effect, football banning order to be imposed by the police on an entire pub.

We'll be needing a license to fart next. If they don't like you, you'll be dealt with. Forcibly. Much like the ravers who were victims to the clampdowns under the CJA of 1988. The Poll Tax riots birthed further amendments (introduced in '91) and then around 1994 we were dished with the CJA/Public Order Act. Add into the mix the fact that anti-terrorism acts can be used on non-terrorist police targets (such as protests, strikes, demonstrations) we have draconian tactics drowning a country already anchored to the bottom of the ocean.

Keeping in with the football theme, the fact chanting and drinking has already been clamped down on in many respects and even swearing is frowned upon by some clubs/stewards/match-day police - it makes you wonder what exactly the future holds for the stands across the country. The fact so many people are being priced out from what was born a working class game and gradually turned into a middle-class tossfest is one indication of where we are headed for.

But that's a given we have all accepted even if we don't admit it. Football has changed in a major way off and on the pitch. But as long as true fans exist, the spirit of the game will live on.

Two-fingers up to the social engineering that's getting rammed down our throats.