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Arsenal security staff taught how to spot far right terror threats on matchdays in Prevent training scheme

PUBLISHED: 11:47 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:28 20 November 2019

The Emirates Stadium. Picture: PA

The Emirates Stadium. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Security staff at Arsenal have taken part in the Home Office approved Prevent training programme, where they learnt to spot far right threats on matchdays.

The Premier League club said all staff received the training to "ensure that Emirates Stadium remains a safe and enjoyable place to watch football".

The scheme teaches people how to identify extremism or people who may become radicalised, as well as how to report incidents.

It is not known how many other clubs have taken part in the training, though The FA told the Gazette it was not mandatory.

The training was carried out alongside Islington Council, which said more than 300 of its key partners, including Arsenal, had been taught about exploitation and extremism in the last year.

Incidents of hate crime at football matches in England and Wales rose by 47 per cent last season, according to Home Office figures. There were hate crimes committed at 193 matches, with 79pc of them race related.

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There were two incidents of racist and indecent chanting by Arsenal fans, compared to just one in the previous four years. Nine Arsenal fans also received banning orders.

A club spokesperson said: "All our security staff receive the necessary training to ensure that Emirates Stadium remains a safe and enjoyable place to watch football. This includes the Home Office's approved Prevent training campaign which, as part of a wider programme, includes identifying far right threats."

Across Islington as a whole racist hate crime increased by 11.4 per cent in the 12 months up to September, the same rise seen across the capital according to the latest Met statistics. Homophobic hate crime also spiked by 3.7pc, though that is a far smaller increase than the 17.9pc rise across London.

All other hate crimes - disability, faith, Islamophobic and transgender - decreased in Islington, bucking the city-wide trend.

In September the assistant commissioner and head of British counterterror police Neil Basu said right-wing extremism posed the fastest growing terror threat to the UK. He said 10pc of 800 investigations at the time involved far-right extremists - a "significant increase".

Counterterror police have listed the Football Lads' Alliance and the English Defence League as examples of "cultural nationalism", which is anti-Islam and anti-immigration, and one of three ideologies inspiring rightwing terrorism.

They said Finsbury Park terrorist Darren Osborne was inspired in part by cultural nationalism when he drove a van into worshippers outside the Muslim Welfare House in 2017, killing 51-year-old Makram Ali.

The council also trained its caretakers in how to spot far right threats in July. It focused on imagery, which had been popping up in the borough. Since then none have been reported.

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