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

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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
Pages (from-to)8-20
Number of pages13
JournalSoccer and Society
Issue number1
Early online date20 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022


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