New law will tackle flares at football matches

time:2023-06-09 05:47:15source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center2

New legislation making it a criminal offence to possess fireworks and flares at events like football matches will come into force next month.

Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown said it was a "dangerous" problem which was "escalating".

Kick-off at Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden had to be delayed after fans set off flares inside the ground.

Ms Brown told MSPs that the measures were designed to tackle the problem.

The legislation, which comes into effect on 6 June, will enable police to search and remove pyrotechnics from people as they enter the stadium.

It will become a specific criminal offence to possess a firework or other pyrotechnic at certain places or events - such as football matches, music concerts and festivals - without reasonable excuse.

Conservative MSP Russell Findlay asked the minister why it had been possible for "dozens of pyros" to be set off "in a highly co-ordinated action by both sets of fans".

Ms Brown said she has not discussed the problems at Sunday's game with Police Scotland, but she told Mr Findlay: "I did see what was happening, I think you are 100% correct it was totally orchestrated."

She said fans currently "think they can get away with it", but hoped the new legislation would "reiterate" that their use was unacceptable.

Ms Brown told the committee that some other measures within the Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Articles (Scotland) Act 2022 had been delayed for financial reasons.

But she said legislation allowing the creation of firework control zones will come in ahead of bonfire night in November.

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