Police have called on football supporters planning to watch England’s World Cup semi-final in pubs in Melton on Wednesday to celebrate sensibly.
The advice comes after Leicestershire Police took a record number of 999 calls on Saturday, sparked in the main by celebrations following England’s quarter-final win over Sweden.
There were no major incidents reported in Melton but during the 24 hours across the county the force received a total of 661 emergency 999 calls, two-thirds of which were received after the game finished. The average number of calls they expect to get on a Saturday is around 420.
The force responded to a total of 942 incidents reported during the day, and took a very high level of 101 non-emergency calls.
Assistant Chief Constable Jason Masters was in charge of policing the response to the game among fans in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, many of whom chose to watch the game in pubs and other public venues during the afternoon.
He said: “The number of 999 calls was the highest volume we have ever recorded, and it’s fair to say it was an incredibly busy day.
“Demand on our services soared within minutes of the final whistle, and without doubt we were stretched. Many officers and staff stayed on to support the operation well after their shifts should have finished.
“We had planned to have many more resources on duty than we would normally have on a Saturday, and as a result of this, the very proactive and policing style, I’m pleased that we managed to contain those situations which could have got out of control.
“We are all right behind the England team, and it is magnificent that they have now reached the semi-finals.
“But there is a line between understandable delight and exuberance, which all football fans share, and lawlessness and ugly anti-social behaviour which easily tarnishes the celebrations for the many.”
A total of five people were arrested in relation to the post-match celebrations, including one in Hinckley for letting off a flare. Two officers received minor injuries in connection with the arrests.
Plans are now being developed to prepare for how the force will police Wednesday night’s game against Croatia, with officers’ rest days and annual leave being cancelled, and Special Constables being asked to report for duty to help backfill neighbourhood and response policing roles.
ACC Masters said: “I am confident that we will, once again, prepare well and will have a significant policing presence in the city, in towns and other key locations on Wednesday night.
“If England do beat Croatia, we will be among the first to celebrate. But fans need to celebrate sensible, and with respect for everyone else.”