Paris, Police and Parades: What we can all learn from this weekend’s events
Whether you’re a red or a blue - for many people across the Liverpool city region, this weekend was one of unforgettable highs and bitter lows.
Pre and post-match events at the Stade de France served as a painful reminder of how poor decision making and unnecessary force by the police can lead to tragic consequences.
While investigations are still underway, there’s no denying that Liverpool fans demonstrated exemplary behaviour in the face of heavy-handed and unjustified treatment by the French authorities.
In the United Kingdom, we’re extremely fortunate to have relatively low levels of police violence - but that doesn’t mean we’re immune from the type of scenes we witnessed at this year’s Champions League final.
Police discrimination and mistreatment exist, which is why it’s important to know your rights if you find yourself in a situation where you aren’t being treated fairly.
The most important thing to remember is that no football match, concert or protest is more important than your safety and that of those around you. Look out for each other and if possible, remove yourself from situations where you don’t feel safe or comfortable.
Two wrongs don’t make a right. If you witness or experience unfair police treatment, don’t make a bad situation worse by presenting yourself as a threat and antagonising the officers - it’ll put yourself and others at risk, and only serve to justify their actions.
Instead, record video footage of what you’re witnessing without compromising your safety.
Complaints, cases and appeals live and die by the amount of vital evidence that’s available.
Smartphones allow you to capture high-quality recordings in real-time, and future investigations will be able to piece together all the footage to get an accurate insight into what happened.
Make a complaint
After the event, it’s important that you make sure your voice is heard by making an official complaint, or in extreme cases, taking legal action.
Every police force in the country has a stringent complaints procedure, and you can make a complaint online.
If you're unhappy with the outcome or the way your case was handled, you can usually appeal or ask for a review.
If you’re abroad, a British embassy or consulate should be your first point of contact.
If you feel that your complaint hasn’t been dealt with appropriately, or that your treatment by the police was so egregious that it warrants legal action - you should seek professional advice from an experienced legal practitioner.
At Bell Lamb & Joynson, our Criminal Defence solicitors deal with all matters involving the police and are available 24/7 for urgent enquiries.
Incidents like those in Paris are extremely rare, and you should never be afraid to seek help from the police when you need it - they exist to protect you.
The euphoric homecoming parade in Liverpool the very next day proved that large scale events can happen safely and successfully in cooperation with the police.
Hopefully, UEFA and the French authorities will be able to "learn lessons" and ensure that incidents like this never happen again.