Security checks are a necessary part of life today, but there's a right and a wrong way to go about them.
Female fans of British football club Grimsby Town were reportedly mortified when staff at the Stevenage football club demanded that they lift up their shirts and show their bras during security searches on Saturday.
The Guardian reported that the Grimsby Town fan collective, Mariners Trust, notified Stevenage that their methods of maintaining safety were severely problematic, as female attendees to the stadium were forced to show their bras to female staff.
The already questionable tactic was made further violating as the searches were conducted in full view of other fans, including men. If a woman's bra was made with underwire, as many are, staff even asked to feel it.
In addition to the undignified security searches of women, the group said that small children were also forced to undergo full body checks, and a female staff member was stationed in the men's toilets throughout the game.
Yet, Stevenage's safety officer, Steve Reed, insisted that Saturday's methods were necessary because the club was concerned contraband items would be smuggled in by those less likely to be stopped by security, i.e. women and children. Full details as to what exactly the intelligence was that led the club to target these fans remain unknown, but local authorities told the BBC that police were present at the game due to public disorder at a previous Grimsby Town match. However, the security searches were only conducted by Stevenage staff.
According to Paul Savage, vice-chair of the Mariners Trust, at least 10 individuals reported being subjected to what the group is calling a "gross invasion of privacy." Both the English Football League and Stevenage football club informed reporters that they were investigating the allegations, as are local authorities.
"What we can’t understand as football supporters is why Stevenage football club have told their stewards to do this," Savage told The Guardian. "It’s not a policing issue, it’s a football club issue – they’ve told their stewards to check people’s bras and we can only assume they’ve been given some intelligence to do that. You don’t have it at airports, so why would you have it at a football club?"
Banner and thumbnail credit: Wikimedia Commons user Mattythewhite