Former England players in campaign to safeguard football fans

A series of short films fronted by former England footballers are playing a key part in a new counter-terrorism campaign targeting fans watching World Cup games in pubs and other public places.

Ex-England striker Alan Shearer: Backing a new counter-terrorism campaign (credit:
Ex-England striker Alan Shearer: Backing a new counter-terrorism campaign (credit:

Former striker Alan Shearer, ex-goalkeeper David Seaman and former defender Paul Parker are taking part in a ‘Know the Game Plan’ campaign launched by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office last week.

The ex-England players tell viewers: "If you’re going to see the game, have a great time and look out for each other. Know the game plan and stay safe."

The films share the same key messages, which tell people to report anything suspicious and to call 999 if they see anything that could pose an immediate threat.

The campaign is part of a wider ‘summer security’ awareness programme by police. This was launched last year in the aftermath of terror attacks in London and Manchester, amid concerns that large gatherings of people at festivals and sporting events are at continued risk of a terrorist attack.

Recent months have seen counter-terror police hold briefings with professional football and rugby clubs, to encourage them to run security and vigilance messages to their audiences.

Lorraine Hennessy, comms manager for the UK National Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters, said: "Through our work with the Premier League and EFL we were able to make contact with former England internationals to ask that they endorse our advice for fans planning to watch World Cup games on giant screens in public places."

She added: "We have seen that terrorists will target large crowds, so this is a precautionary step. We want everyone to go along and enjoy the matches but remain alert to suspicious activity and report concerns."

Hennessy commented: "Alan Shearer kindly gave us a retweet and by the time England kicked off their first game we had reached over half a million people on CTP social channels alone."

The new campaign has already been covered by media ranging from the BBC and ITV to The Sun, Daily Mail and the front page of the Evening Standard in London.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign last week, chief superintendent Nick Aldworth, national co-ordinator for protect and prepare policing, commented: "Big public events and crowded spaces can be targeted by those who want to cause harm, but I want to reassure the public that the police, partners and the event organisers are doing all we can to keep them safe and secure."

He added: "If something doesn’t look or feel right, tell someone. We want you to enjoy the games, enjoy the atmosphere and by remaining vigilant we can all stay safe."

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