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Those airport checks may get longer...

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The new airport checks that could see thousands of football fans and holiday makers alike detained at the airport and prevented from travelling.

If the headlines over the last few days are to be believed new Police powers could lead to chaos at airports as the Police target so called football hooligans to prevent them travelling to the Euro 2016 Championships this summer. The legislation permitting this came into force on 4 March 2016 under the grandly titled The Football Spectators (2016 European Championship Control Period) Order 2016.

If this was the case a slight hold up at check-in could perhaps be forgiven as I’m sure we’d all rather enjoy the match in peace without some jumped up Danny Dyer wanabee trying to recreate a scene from The Football Factory, but the reality is actually more worrying.

These wide sweeping powers don’t just target the so called hooligans they could lead to disruption for genuine football fans and even holiday makers on route to a Spanish getaway with no intention of ever watching a match.

These checks will allow the police to screen those with previous convictions; it won’t matter if you’re not travelling to France as neighbouring European cities will also flag up. It won’t even matter if your offence wasn’t football related; any disorderly or violent offences will be of interest. This could mean something as low level as a silly argument in the street without any actual violence.

Perhaps even more alarming is that fact that you can be conviction free but if the Police believe you have caused or contributed to disorder or violence in the past you could still be detained for up to 6 hours while they carry out their enquiries.

If it is then decided you are a risk they can seize your passport effectively preventing you from travelling while they apply for an Interim Football Banning Order.

The Police have had months with the passenger lists to prepare these applications, this is a costly exercise and one which they will want to be a success. That success is likely to be measured by how many Football Banning Orders are granted. There has been much debate about how such wide sweeping powers can be lawful, but that won’t assist those travelling in the coming weeks, that will be a challenge for later. What is important for now is to be prepared.

So if you are planning on travelling and you have previous convictions no matter how minor please get in touch the specialist team at Fieldings Porter, even more so if you’re a football fan. We are on hand to offer advice and assistance both before you travel and during should you find yourself stopped at the airport. We are experienced in opposing Football Banning Order applications and available to cover any such hearings in the coming weeks.

If you do find yourself stopped at the airport please contact Victoria Thompson on 07825957093 or our 24 hour crime line on 07786655345.

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