Police get English lessons and tips on dealing with fans
Published 28/01/2012 | 05:00
POLISH police are getting English lessons in order to prepare them for the influx of football fans.
Gardai will also be travelling to Poland in the coming months to advise the police force about how Irish fans behave and how to defuse any situations involving drunk fans.
There have been some concerns the Polish police could overreact to Irish fans and mistake their enthusiasm for misbehaviour.
But Michal Prymas, who is overseeing Euro 2012 preparations in Poznan, said they were working hard to ensure the Polish authorities were aware of any cultural differences.
"From observing websites we've seen that people think the Polish police use a lot of force," he said. "But that is not the case and the Polish police are quite friendly.
''Maybe 30 years ago it was possible (using a lot of force) but nowadays things are different.
"Maybe the police were a bit worried about the arrival of the Dutch or English, but not of the Irish."
As well as teaching the police basic phrases, taxi drivers will also receive English lessons. As is normal with huge international events, a number of gardai will travel to Poland to advise the local police on Irish behaviour.
Fans have also been advised to remember that police will enforce their local laws.
Nudity is very much frowned upon, as is drink driving.
While drinking in public places is illegal, the police generally turn a blind eye unless someone is causing trouble. Local tourism chiefs expect this will be the same during Euro 2012.
On-the-spot fines of about €50 are payable by those caught jay-walking, while there are also thousands of speed cameras around the country. If caught speeding, a fine will be payable. The size of the fine will depend on how much you are over the speed limit.
Drivers also frequently ignore zebra crossings, so visitors are advised to exercise caution when crossing the road.
ID must be carried at all times and the Irish embassy has advised fans to bring a photocopy of their passport in case they lose it.
Temporary consular offices will be set up for the duration of the Irish team's time in Poland, and anyone who loses their passport will be given a document which can be used for the return journey home.
Michal Brandt, who works at the mayor's office in Gdansk, said they were well aware of the difference between Irish and British fans and are not concerned about trouble.
"Every match here is considered to be low risk. We're not afraid of any riots happening," he added.