WITH just a week to go until the World Cup begins on June 11, reporter Eliot Mullett caught up with Solihull’s head of licensing to find out just how the police are preparing.
“We want people to go out and enjoy the tournament in a safe environment, but at the same time know we have the capacity to respond to any trouble” - that’s the message from Inspector David Rischmiller, Solihull’s new licensing boss.
“What we are aiming to do is reduce the risk of any trouble before the World Cup actually starts.”
During the past few weeks Insp Rischmiller and his team have been visiting the borough’s pubs and clubs making sure they are well prepared for the tournament.
Bars showing games have been asked to comply with a range of safety measures such as not handing out glass bottles, having a suitable number of clearly identifiable door staff, and ensuring CCTV cameras are fully operational.
They also meet up with Solihull Pub Watch, a group of licensees from the town centre who get together to discuss issues such as health and safety and visitor numbers.
“We’re also putting out a range of beer mats and posters to pass on our message, which is to have fun but not to let things get out of hand,” added Insp Rischmiller.
“I’m sure people will also be aware of England’s 2018 bid for the World Cup - and obviously scenes of violence will not do us any favours. It also creates the wrong impression of our country.
“The vast majority of people want to enjoy the tournament, but those intent on causing trouble should know there will be an increased police presence across the board.”
And those thinking about drink or drug driving can be assured that the police will still be patrolling the roads too.
“What I’d say is if you want to have a drink, then leave the car keys at home. You can never tell how alcohol will affect you on the day.
“The police have to have a reasonable suspicion that someone is drink or drug driving to stop them - but we can usually tell straight away.
“Proving positive to either offence carries hefty penalties and usually a fine and ban. And with the economic climate as it is at the moment, losing your licence can have a significant impact on your life.”