Over 2,500 European Police to Assist Euro 2008 Hosts | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 06.04.2008
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Over 2,500 European Police to Assist Euro 2008 Hosts

Germany will send the largest single contingent of foreign police officers to Austrian and Switzerland during the European Championship this June to help keep unruly fans in line.

Police officers in the Leipzig soccer stadium

German police got experience in stadium security during the World Cup 2006

About 1,700 German police officers will be made available during 2008 European Championships, 850 in each of the host countries, Austria's Interior Minister Guenter Platter said at a press conference in Vienna earlier this week.

In Austria, the German police will be allowed to make arrests, while other foreign officers will serve a supervisory function, he said.

France will send the second largest contingent, 750 officers to Switzerland. Croatia will provide 31 officers, Poland 25, Sweden 15, Greece 12, and Russia and Spain 11 each.

Austria to lift Schengen privileges

Police arrest a hooligan

Not all the fans are hooligans, but police have to prepare for the worst

Platter also said that passport-free travel, allowed for by the Schengen agreement, would be intermittently suspended during the championship, as was the case in Germany during the 2006 soccer World Cup. Switzerland is not yet a member of the Schengen zone.

"Ninety-nine percent of fans are peaceful, but we must nevertheless assume that there will be some troublemakers," said Platter.

The foreign reinforcements will lend support to Austria's 27,000 police, who have been given a vacation ban during the event, and the 31,200 police and soldiers that Switzerland will make available.

Three million spectators are expected to attend the soccer championship, which takes place in eight Swiss and Austrian cities from June 7 to 29.

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