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EURO2016 SECURITY ALERT - The Police drove away.

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Yesterday I was in Lens for the England v Wales game, most of us had hours to kill, fortunately the bars opened at 6 am, by mid day there were thousands of us in the town centre, it was great, the best atmosphere I have ever experienced between two sets of supporters, television everywhere even the Russians quizzing the Welsh about why they preferred England over Russia, an attempt to show their country as squeaky clean after Marseille, UEFA tv was there observing, what a great advert for BRITISH football. I think that sets the picture.

I noticed a package similar to a present complete with carrying handle, it looked so neat my first response was it looked as if it had been placed there deliberate, I did what I thought was the correct thing, I waved down a passing police car and told the officers my concern it may be a bomb or similar device, they looked quizzingly out of the car windows from varying angles and then just drove away without  a word, still concerned I was aware of the location of the main police group so hurried there,that morning I saw the officer in charge addressing his officers so approached him and mentioned what I saw, immediately he summoned three particular officers from different squads and the 5 of us went to where the package was placed, they looked at the package and the head officer kicked it with his foot to see what it may be, phew it didn't explode. 

So there we are, something that turned out to be nothing but what if it had been, to ignore me initially was wrong, the police should not have driven off. The officer who up until kicking the package had done everything right but that action could have triggered an explosion so I think that was wrong, if it had gone off I was next to it so could have also gone not here to tell my story.

The incident unnerved me a bit because of the way it was handled by the 2 officers in the car, they should have taken over and called in their security people like I had done. I'm not finished there, later there was a television company filming 2 lads dressed up in weird gear, they took the lads names and addresses and told them they would send copies of the film. To make sure it was a television company I asked if they were press or TV, TV they said and I told them what had happened with the package and my continuing concern, we'll mention it to the boss they said but don't think he will be interested, testing further I asked if they wanted a means to contact me if he was answer NO. The media is only interested in discrediting the supporters.

This took place in a country experiencing a State of Emergency. 

Having witnessed Marseille last weekend, yesterday's events has me questioning French security matters.

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A few months ago on a train from Penzance to Paddington I came across an unaccompanied bag in a more or less empty carriage.  I reported it to the train "steward" (or whatever they call them) and he asked me what he I wanted him to do!  He was clueless.  Fortunately the owner turned up after about 10 minutes but it seemed that there was no set procedure there either.


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That is the point there doesn't appear to be a set procedure, even gov.uk hasn't got an emergency number, just the normal contact your police but then you have no guarantee anything will be done, the way this country is going we would probably be speaking to a civilian volunteer.

I have sent an email to the FSF (Football Supporters Federation) their offices are closed for the weekend and they are in France for the EUROs. the FSF are the only ones who appear to be interested in supporter welfare, they also offer advice to Football Clubs in trouble, any group can join Truro City FC - TISA - Me as an individual are members, useful if something goes wrong and you want someone to help fight your corner whilst concerned about football matters. The FSF is FREE to join, I have seen their involvement they are at every England away venue manning a FSF Fans Embassy if any of us needs help or directions, I must make sure I send them a donation when EURO2016 is over.

The FSF has raised the question of security (they are run with the approval of the FA) so I shall copy my email and hand it to them when in Saint Etienne on Monday. I am convince they will not treat the matter lightly. 

Surely as a country we should have an emergency number to deal with solely terrorist related fears.

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That is appalling. However, when you talk about the media, just remember, they are merely interested in selling themselves. They want people to watch/read/listen to them, and not somebody else. The fact that you raised concern about a suspect package, that turned out to be nothing, is not going to interest the media when there are far more "exciting" things to report. that's the media I'm afraid.

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I wrote to a football related agency who work in close proximity with the FA and have a toe into UEFA's door also the ear of Europe's security forces, today I got this reply.

Good morning Ivor,

Thanks for getting in touch.
I've forwarded your email to our fans' embassy team who are out in France at the moment and keen to learn more about the policing. I'm sure they'll include it in there discussions with UEFA and the French authorities.
Kind regards,

I replied to this stating that in Britain the police offices are often manned by civilian volunteers but even the gov.uk website does not have a security alert number, I have suggested this should be corrected and a number easily remembered is known by everyone like the old 999 was, I don't think just ringing the police is good enough, I added that if for tournaments like the EURO2016 there should be such a number for the venues used and have them manned by people who speak the language of the competing nations playing that day. When I go back to Nice for the next game I intend to speak to those concerned personally.


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