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Transcript of CPS Football Prosecutors conference interviews

17/04/2009

This page has transcripts of interviews about the first CPS Football Prosecutors conference held at Charlton FC on 16 April 2009.

Background

"The first CPS Football Prosecutors conference was the best opportunity for staff of the CPS, Home Office, UK Football Policing Unit, Football Association and Professional Football Association to gather and share good practice", said Nick Hawkins, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and CPS lead on football issues.

Mr Hawkins said: "The South African Police Commissioner Ben Groenwald made a special trip to the UK for this conference and unveiled what kind of security we could expect for the World Cup 2010. He said that the presence of Football Prosecutors at tournaments was a good idea and that he was thinking of using the same concept for 2010. We, of course, are always happy to share our expertise and experience of working in partnership with others at home and overseas."

The conference was held at Charlton FC on 16 April 2009.

Read the interviews transcript below, or watch the videos.

Transcript

Nick Hawkins, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Hampshire and Isle of Wight

Nick Hawkins tells us about the aims and objectives of the first CPS Football Prosecutor conference

Why do we have CPS football prosecutors?
Watch the first section of the Football Conference interviews.

"Although I expect all prosecutors to prosecute football related criminality, it's important to have specialist points of contact for both the police and the clubs, so we can get consistency across an area, and so we've got one person who really takes a proactive interest in things to make sure matters get dealt with very, very quickly and very, very effectively."

What were the aims of the CPS football prosecutors conference?
Watch the second section of the Football Conference interviews.

"We had a number of aims:

  • the first and foremost was that we wanted to get everybody together and have a change to share experience and get to know each other to share good practice.
  • The second was to engage with the key partners both in the police and the Home Office and also with the professional game of clubs, the players associations and
  • the third was to look at the international dimension because obviously as a service we've got experience from Germany we've got South Africa coming up and we've got Brazil before, following on from that so we've brought together the sort of pure prosecution side of life, the international side of life and the community engagement side of life

and hopefully we've succeeded."

Ben Groenwald, South African Police Assistant Commissioner

The South African Police Assistant Commissioner shares his impressions on the conference and tells us what he thinks about the British model

Why is it important for you to attend the first CPS football prosecutors conference?
Watch the third section of the Football Conference interviews.

"Thanks very much, I think the invitation is much appreciated, it's not my first visit to the United Kingdom, on a visit previously, I met previously with the football units we never thought about the cooperation with the prosecuting authority and that is why I am saying I think it is an excellent opportunity for us to expand our views on the involvement of the prosecuting authority in terms of the world cup 2010.

We do have a sub committee of the criminal justice system in South Africa preparing their own 27 for court cases in terms of football related crimes and I think the fact that we can take back the idea of the involvement of the CPS is very much a good idea."

What do you think about the work of the CPS football prosecutors?
Watch the fourth section of the Football Conference interviews.

"I think it is a good concept and I would go back with a positive view of that and recommend that we invite them for 2010, so that we can see if we can also incorporate such a concept within the 2010."

Do you think the British model is a good one?
Watch the fifth section of the Football Conference interviews.

"Yes, definitely, I think it's a good one and I think we would appreciate if we can use the same concept for 2010."

Simon Clements, Head of CPS Special Crime Division

Simon explains how it is important for the CPS to work closely with the police and how the CPS exports its knowledge abroad.

Why is it important to have CPS football prosecutors?
Watch the sixth section of the Football Conference interviews.

"It's really important because football is very much an important part of every local community, we've heard today at the football conference how important everybody feels that it is. It's very natural then that we should be linked into to that community aspect of the work, when people commit crimes at football matches our prosecutors must understand the football culture, must understand the importance of convictions and banning orders and then that leads back into the community to stop these people coming back into football matches."

How do we work with the Police?
Watch the seventh section of the Football Conference interviews.

"We work with the Police at a number of levels; I think our partnership working is very good. At local level each football club has a football prosecutor and they link in with the local Police. At national level our football lead Nick Hawkins has very close links with the both the Home Office and the United Kingdom football policing unit, so at every aspect, local and national, I think we work extremely closely and very well."

How do we share good practice with our counterparts abroad?
Watch the eighth section of the Football Conference interviews.

"There are a number of ways that we share good practice:

  • at an inter-governmental level we sit on a group that covers the whole of Europe, that's chaired by the Home Office, so we can influence what's going on at that forum;
  • also in terms of the CPS involvement we sent prosecutors, as part of a joint prosecution team, to Germany for the 2006 world cup - this enabled us to get banning orders both at the time of the tournament and afterwards; and
  • most recently this month we sent prosecutors to Brazil to try and share best practice with them as they prepare for the world cup in 2014."

Jim Hope, Football Prosecutor for CPS Northumbria

Jim Hope gives an insight into the role of CPS Football Prosecutor.

What does a CPS football prosecutor do?
Watch the ninth section of the Football Conference interviews.

"Yes, I'm presently the lead prosecutor for Northumbria we look after two clubs, that's Newcastle and Sunderland, my responsibility is essentially to oversee the files that come to the office, in relation to that I have two colleagues that assist, one allocated to Newcastle, one allocated to Sunderland, and I provide a point of contact for the Police for advice and any other issues that arise in terms of football related offences."

Why is it important to work closely with the Police?
Watch the tenth section of the Football Conference interviews.

"The evidence that we get from the Police is the starting point of any prosecution. If we establish good working relationships with the police at a local level we can ensure that we get the information that we require to ensure that we get a proper and successful prosecution at the end of the case."

What evidence do you need to prosecute football related cases?
Watch the eleventh section of the Football Conference interviews.

"There's essentially two aspects to that -

  • firstly is that ensuring that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction in court. That evidence can come in the form of witness statements from people that were there at the scene, Police officers or other witnesses, and they can also come from CCTV footage, anything that is taken at the time.
  • The second aspect of that is looking at banning order applications, in addition to that information about previous convictions is always helpful to the court and also any intelligence that the officers may have about the defendants previous misbehaviour at either football matches or otherwise."