I was working today at a football club, as a doorman (I am a qualified doorperson (yes, you have to be qualified, believe it or not!!) and earn some extra money by doing this sort of thing in my spare time). We were on full alert and had an increased police presence because there had been a posting somewhere online, a call to arms for football hooligans to converge on the stadium for this particular match, to cause some trouble.

Happily, there was no trouble and even if there had been, there were few enough away supporters that we definitely had the personnel to deal with any issues.

On the way home, though, I was considering how this sort of thing might be being used as a tool. Today is known in football for being a bad day, because it’s the weekend when everyone gets dragged out Xmas shopping, footie or no. That, in turn, means a lot of cash and purchases wandering around various city centres, shopping malls etc. If I wanted to carry out a significant operation on either people on the streets, shops which had done particularly well or the banks that had received some of the good fortune (from the shops at the end of the day) then I would definitely use such a ploy if it occurred to me.

Perhaps I am too suspicious of human nature. But the sympathetic side of me feels remarkably sorry for the police, for they are in a complete catch 22. They are damned if they do send a significant presence along, because this must surely decrease the force available for other areas. If nothing kicks off, they have given criminals extra opportunity. But if they are aware of a potential threat (such as these internet postings, which in the past have led to significant incidents and even casualties) they must act or the one time they don’t and things kick off it will be both a tragedy and a political nightmare.

Does anyone have thoughts on how this sort of thing could be better handled? I had similar thoughts when dear Mr Bush came to London and every policeman in a 100 mile radius appeared to be forced to converge on his exact location for however many days it was.