Ten Seasons of the Football Banning Order: Police Officer Narratives on the Operation of Banning Orders and the Impact on the Behaviour of ‘Risk Supporters’
journal contributionposted on 17.10.2012, 10:24 by Matt Hopkins
The Football Banning Order was implemented under the Football (Disorder) Act (2000) to target ‘risk’ supporters where the supporter had (a) previously been involved in football-related disorder and (b) was likely to be involved in future disorder . Although viewed by the government of the day as a necessary tool to tackle football hooliganism, it was criticised by opponents as draconian due to the restrictive conditions that could be imposed via civil process (on complaint) where no criminal conviction needed to be secured. Despite these ethical concerns, little research has considered how those responsible for the operation of the orders identify and target ‘risk’ supporters or the impact orders have on the behaviour of risk supporters. This paper aims to redress this gap in the research by presenting the findings of a number of interviews with police officers responsible for the operation of banning orders. The findings show police officers construct narratives that emphasise the need to control risk supporters and suggest banning orders have worked to serve this function. However, closer analysis of the data suggests that the number of banning orders implemented is partially generated by pressure to deliver targets and a desire of officers to justify and preserve their roles. This raises questions about the extent to which pressures to ensure banning orders are issued outweigh any ethical concerns over the use of the legislation.