A database system used to help police track hooligans during the Euro 2000 football championships has its first major test tonight when England play Portugal in Eindhoven.
The match has been identified as a potential flashpoint and 2000 extra police have been drafted in to deal with any trouble.
Assisting the authorities to maintain order will be an application based on Computer Associates' Ingres II database technology, which will make up-to-date information about football fans more easily accessible.
The Bi-National Police Information Centre (BPIC), where Dutch and Belgian police analyse and distribute intelligence, will house the Ingres II application, which forms part of the Football Intelligence Messaging Exchange System (FIMeXs) project.
The aim of the project, which was derived from earlier football and client tracking systems, is to ensure that the entire flow of logistics remains manageable throughout the championships. FIMeXs has facilities for information searches, message classification, and for establishing whether messages and their sources are reliable.
Chief Inspector Theo Brekelmans, who is in charge of 60 people including analysts and translators working at the BPIC, said: "For a mega-event such as this to be manageable, information-intelligence is absolutely vital. This means obtaining, measuring, analysing and passing on information about supporters before, during and after matches."
A spokeswoman from the UK's National Criminal Intelligence Service said that 13,000 English fans, half of whom do not have tickets, are expected to attend the game. So far 15 suspected hooligans have been turned away from the borders of Holland and Belgium.
Brekelmans explained that the police need to know how many supporters are arriving from England, their behaviour and what their plans are. He stressed that supporters will continue to be monitored in their hotels and outside grounds.
"Using the collected information we can make risk assessments and determine the necessary strength of the police presence accordingly," said Brekelmans.
Police in Eindhoven have prepared 150 extra cells and emphasised that they will get tough with any troublemakers. Minor offences, such as swearing or urinating in public, will be dealt with using on-the-spot fines.
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