AS THE borough prepares to cheer on England in tomorrow night’s World Cup semi-final, police are planning an increased presence to keep everyone safe and issuing a reminder to fans to play fair.
Officers will be doing their own extra time to ensure the streets are kept safe and residents can enjoy the football – and hopefully celebrate England reaching the final for the first time since 1966.
England are playing Croatia in the game which is being broadcast live from Russia and pubs and clubs will be packed with supporters looking to share in the occasion.
Recent games have seen fans pile on to the streets of Reading after the match, forcing the police to close Broad Street to allow crowds to disperse. The force said that there have some some incidents that has seen an ambulance damaged.
And Thames Valley Police is also reminding residents only to call 999 in case of an emergency.
Chief Inspector Colleen Lavery, based at Thames Valley Police’s Joint Operations Unit, said: “We are working to ensure that our local communities remain safe to watch the game.
“Although the vast majority of supporters will enjoy the game responsibly, it only takes a few individuals to spoil the atmosphere for everyone else. There have been a number of incidents in the Thames Valley over the last few weeks ranging from an ambulance being damaged through to public disorder.
“This is a peak period of demand for the emergency services. Please do not take critical emergency resources away from those who really need it by behaving recklessly.
“We would like to remind everybody to drink responsibly and that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated. Dispersal Notices will be issued against offenders where appropriate, which could result in them missing the game.
“To report any incidents of anti-social behaviour, please call Thames Valley Police on 101. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Please only call 999 in an emergency, where there is an immediate threat to life.”
Our picture shows happy England fans enjoying Saturday’s game in Wokingham safely. There is no suggestion that they were causing any mischief.