The Safety Team at Oxford United are always working hard behind the scenes to develop new ways to improve crowd safety and the matchday experience for all supporters. One of these is the ‘Ox-Tales: Supporting Safer Stadia' system which the team have been developing over the last 18 months.
This is, in effect, a database that allows the Safety Team to have secure access to information relevant to the behaviour of specific individuls and Ian Mixter, the club’s Safety Officer has been meeting with Supporters Trust Oxvox to outline the benefits and explain the system in full detail.
He told us:
“The fundamental point of the system is that we believe all supporters want to enjoy their matchday experience in a safe and secure environment where any crime or serious anti-social behaviour can be dealt with swiftly and professionally. This is particularly relevant now as the definition of ‘safety’ as defined under the Stadium safety certicate issused by the Local Authority has been amended to include crime & disorder, anti-social behaviour and counter terrorism
“It’s not a ‘Big Brother’ database of all fans, but there are four galleries which our team can access. The first is those with a Football Banning Order [FBO], second is people with an Oxford United Banning Order. There is a third gallery of those who have signed an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC), which is a contract between themselves & Oxford United Football Club and the fourth gallery is of unknown individuals who are of interest to the OUFC Safety Team due to their involvement in criminal or serious anti-social behaviour at designated football matches.
“We had a very productive meeting with OxVox who had concerns about a particular aspect of OxTales, namely a proposed warning scheme on behaviour where fans would have had details recorded and be given either a yellow or red card, similar to schemes used successfully in shopping centres across the country. Oxvox felt this would harm relations between the match day safety team and the supporters and after serious consideration it has been decided not to introduce that system at games.
“We feel we are always approachable and are always happy to have dialogue with Oxvox. The vast majority of fans will never need to even think about the OxTales system, but it allows us to be flexible and up to date in the background.”
Jem Faulkner of Oxvox said
“Following initial communications regarding the ‘OxTales’ scheme, we’ve engaged closely with Ian Mixter and the OUFC safety team as well as all the senior operational managers at the club (including Darryl Eales). We had some concerns and we’d been contacted by a significant number of our members regarding the application of certain aspects of the scheme.
We’re very pleased that the club have decided to modify the scheme and are confident that fans will understand and support its revised introduction. A close and collaborative bond between the club, safety stewards and fans is vital and OxVox are very appreciative of the club’s commitment to making the match day experience enjoyable for everyone and as good as it can be.”
• ‘OxTales: Supporting Safer Stadia’ is fully compliant with current HM Government legislation; this being the Data Protection Act 1998 & the General Data Protection Regulation respectively.
• All images are displayed in order to support the identification of individuals, subject to a ban or behavioural contract, by key match day staff. In addition images are displayed of unknown individuals who have taken part in criminal acts or serious anti-social behaviour at football games. Once identified these individuals are then subject to a ban or offered a behavioural contract.
• Along with images, members can see a name, date of birth & rationale for being in a particular gallery of an individual. Members cannot see the home address details of an individual.
• The data is available to members of the Ox-Tales: Supporting Safer Stadia. Members are either full or part time members of the scheme. Full time members of Ox-Tales include senior officials of Oxford United Football Club, senior members of the Safety Team [Stand Managers upwards], members of Thames Valley Police, British Transport Police, Metropolitan Police, Chairman of the Safety Advisory Group & our Sports Ground Safety Authority Inspector. Part time members [access two days prior & two days after an Oxford United fixture] are the away ground safety officer & the dedicated football officer from the respective police force covering the area where Oxford play away.
• It should be noted that no stewards [those in yellow coats] have access to OxTales.
• Ox-Tales will only hold the personal data of those subject to a football banning order, a club banning order, those subject to an acceptable behaviour contract or those whose identity is sought due to their criminal or serious anti-social behaviour at designated football matches.
• An individual can make a Subject Access request under the Data Protection Act [Oxford United make a charge of £10 to process the request]. However, unless a supporter whose identification is known is the subject of a football banning order, a club ban or an ABC their data WILL NOT be held by Oxford United under this particular scheme. Individuals subject to either of these three will be aware due to either having attended court, received written communication from Oxford United that they are subject to a club ban or signed a behavioural contract.
• All personal data is removed from view to members of the scheme after the time period relevant to the particular ban or contract; it is permanently deleted from the scheme after a further short time period. This is compliant with current & future data protection regulation.