Running an ostler? Exploring the use of stop and search tactics at Scottish football matches

Conor Wilson*, Johanne Miller, Carlton Brick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been a plethora of literature detailing the detrimental impact of police stop and search tactics (S&S) on police-community relationships and police legitimacy, as well as recent controversy surrounding football policing in Scotland. Yet, the recent controversies, and subsequent reform of S&S in Scotland has yet to trigger any meaningful discussion about the use of search tactics at football matches. The aim of this research was to explore the relationship between S&S at football matches and police-supporter relationships. This research utilized qualitative methodologies in the form of semi-structured interviews with police officers and football supporters. This study found, that S&S, in the context of football, did not affect police-supporter relationships in the same way as traditional S&S. This paper offers two reasons: the difference in S&S implementation, and a broader acceptance of ‘criminalizing’ practice among fans wherein specific practices are perceived as the cost of participation in football fandom.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1918117
Number of pages13
JournalSoccer and Society
Early online date20 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Apr 2021


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