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Worrying police development in north London

At one level I have no time for Tottenham Hotspur, but like any reasonable supporter who has been going to matches for years and years, and who used to live in the vicinity of the two grounds, I know some Tottenham fans.   Sometimes we even manage tp set aside the sarcasm and what passes for wit, and do have serious discussions about the issues facing our respective clubs.

It was on the basis of setting aside the normal “let’s laugh at Tottenham” approach that I was seriously troubled to hear that the THST (that’s the Tottenham supporters trust) are reporting that the local police force have been stopping people as they walk towards White Hart Lane for games and citing Section 44 of the Terrorism Act (2001) as their reason for doing so.

Now of course if there is a terrorism issue lurking around I want all the authorities to take action and get the terrorists and their bombs out of the way at full speed.  But there have been many reports that police will use the Terrorism Act as an excuse for anything.

We all know at Arsenal that getting out of the Emirates is a mess, and individual members of the police can start acting in less than reasonable ways on occasion.  But we also know those streets and the underground stations are simply not built to handle 60,000 people leaving the ground with modern safety in mind – a bit of give and take all round is needed.

Maybe this Terrorism thing is just a Tottenham issue – but maybe it is reflective of a problem that we could face.   You are walking to the ground, making a spot of noise, and the next thing you are arrested under the Terrorism Act – which means you can be locked up and held for a month or so.

If you have any experience of any police officers using the Terrorism Act as a part of normal policing of football crowds anywhere, I would urge you to get in touch with whatever supporters group you belong to, or to write to every blog you can find, and to the club, and find out what is going on.   It could all be perfectly correct, and there could be a reason to act in this way – but I do have a suspicion that sometimes this Act is being used as a simple way of having a go at someone who is just acting a little bit out of line.

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