Gardaí take 'soft-hat' approach to policing ahead of Scotland tie
Garda public order units will patrol the streets of Dublin today as part of a big security operation for the crucial European championship qualifying game against Scotland.
But they are being deployed in "soft hats" rather than being kitted out in full riot gear.
The change in policing tactics, adopted successfully for last weekend's friendly match with England, is aimed at reassuring the public of a strong garda presence in the capital while at the same time sending a message to troublemakers.
The security operation has been scaled down from a week ago, but the overall number of officers is "only slightly down", according to senior gardaí.
The operation was launched yesterday but will be stepped up substantially this morning when six public order units, the dog unit and mounted unit will be used as back-up.
Gardaí said there was no intelligence indicating that trouble was likely for the must-win game. But officers from Police Scotland have been drafted in as "spotters" to help identify any football hooligans.
It is expected that up to 15,000 fans could arrive in Dublin, although only a quarter of them are likely to have obtained tickets through official channels.
The majority of the Scottish fans are likely to take a ferry to Belfast and travel from there.
Gardaí are also keeping watch on a small number of Irish fans who could try to provoke an incident.
A senior garda told the Irish Independent last night: "Members of the Tartan Army have a good reputation and do not tolerate violence from within their own ranks.
"Any problems from either side are likely to be created by those who are neither regular nor genuine supporters of the national teams."
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