Over the past few weeks we’ve published a series of interviews with representatives from national and continental supporters’ organisations.
This week sees Huddersfield Town Supporters Association's James Chisem speak to Amanda Jacks from FSF Faircop to find out more about her role and duties...
Can you tell us a bit about FSF FairCop?
Fair Cop is my twitter name and covers the campaign ‘Watching Football Is Not A Crime’ which has been in action for some years now.
It’s all encompassing and covers everything from dealing with complaints around policing and stewarding to putting out useful information for supporters.
Most of my followers are supporters from clubs around the country, although a fair few dedicated football officers follow me, which can mean the occasional lively discussion.
In your experience, what’s the most common policing and/or stewarding issue supporters have to deal with?
Policing has vastly improved in recent years, although we still don’t see a consistent picture around the country, and away fans can still contend with over the top policing.
Ironically, perhaps, issues around stewarding are on the rise which is a real concern since poor stewarding can and does compromise safety.
Almost on a weekly basis I learn about minor incidents that have escalated into more serious ones due to a poor response from stewards who often are doormen whose skills are simply not transferable to football stadia.
There is a growing awareness within the industry that there is, at best, room for improvement – which is gratifying.
It can’t come too soon. What’s the most important fact supporters should know about policing and stewarding at football matches?
It may seem an odd thing to say, but the biggest issue isn’t policing or stewarding but a mentality among fans that I call ‘expect and accept’.
They think being treated poorly is part and parcel of football and for a variety of reasons that I do understand, they see little or no point in speaking up.
In short, if they don’t, change will happen at a slower pace.
What would you say is FairCop’s biggest achievement?
I’m particularly proud of my involvement in several successful legal cases, particularly those that have created legal precedents.
We are very lucky to have two amazing solicitors who will advise us free of charge and often go on to represent supporters.
In these difficult times, it is very rewarding being able to facilitate access to justice.
I also take great pride in individual cases that don’t make the headlines but mean a huge amount to the supporters involved.
It’s incredibly rewarding to get phone calls or emails from fans who I’ve helped. Ultimately, I’m just doing my job, but it’s a great one to have!
Who should people contact if they have any problems with the police or stewards?
Me! Amanda.Jacks@fsf.org.uk or 07703 519555. This job isn’t a Monday to Friday, 9-5 one, so whenever I can, I’m happy to help fans outside of traditional working hours.
Remember, HTSA are the voice of the fans. If you’d like to know more or get involved, visit our HTSA website , email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our Travel Line on 07905 580784.