Detecting illegal fireworks

Jim van Etten

A football match of your favourite team that is disturbed by someone throwing fireworks on the field. Who has not seen that lately? How frustrating can it be to watch one person ruin a match that you yourself have been enjoying greatly? It happens more often than it should.

Detecting illegal fireworks

The use of fireworks during football matches is quite common these days. It can provide additional ambience during some very intense matches. Hence, these fireworks are used in a controlled environment regulated by the football club and stadium with the proper safety precautions. Unfortunately, there are people that believe that they themselves, as a visitor of the match, can provide a much better fireworks show and with this cause a lot of incidents or even injure other people.

Legislation

In 2010, in the Netherlands, a law, better known as the “Voetbalwet”, was put into place to increase and ensure the safety inside football stadiums during matches. However, almost ten years later and there is still an increase in the number of incidents, especially caused by the use of (illegal) fireworks.

 

Fireworks do not only form a danger and potential risk for players, stewards and other supporters, it also has a huge financial impact on the football clubs. Governing football associations will fine football clubs if incidents occur by improper use of fireworks inside a stadium during a match. The height of these fines heavily increases each time such an incident takes place. However, this is only a subsequent reaction to the incident, and not a preventive method.

Football clubs will benefit from a preventive method over a subsequent approach. Link to page

Jim van Etten
Jim van Etten

Detection through Delta R Technology

During the development of the Delta R, specific areas of interest were explored for the implementation as a security scanner. One such area is the detection of fireworks, smuggled inside the football stadiums by visitors of a match. The idea behind implementing the Delta R inside football stadiums was to scan the clothes, hands or tickets for traces of fireworks. Detection of traces would then indicate that this person has come in contact with such fireworks and could presumably have taken it to a match.

 

In 2017 a project was created to determine if it was possible to detect traces of fireworks or individual components of the substances inside the fireworks. This project was started in cooperation with Saxion University of Applied Science, Tech for Future and a Dutch professional football club. Two students have actively worked to determine the use of the Delta R for detection of fireworks, resulting in a first field test with the Delta R at a football stadium. Initially the focus was set to detect a specific substance found inside most illegal fireworks.  Based on these results the project was continued along with the Delta R being developed further. Later the focus was broadened to include the detection of other substances known to be present in or on the outside of fireworks. Particles that were found on the outside tend to stick to a persons hands, which could then be transferred to, for instance, entrance tickets. Searching for these specific particles would provide a good indication that a person has handled fireworks.

Related insight

Detecting illicit trace materialhttps://www.sg11.nl/insights/detecting-illicit-trace-material/

Conceptual design by the Saxion University of Applied Sciences
Conceptual design by the Saxion University of Applied Sciences

Related product

Related product

Delta R Item Scannerhttps://www.sg11.nl/products/delta-r-item-scanner/

The results

Now, in 2019, the project has come to an end and a concept of a device has been created which can be placed at the ticket entrances, attached to a tourniquet. In this conceptual design the Delta R can be incorporated inside a security entrance to scan the hand and the ticket of a visitor for possible traces. This will allow the Delta R to directly signal the security and limit the access of persons carrying actual fireworks.

Delta R Item Scanner and the conceptual design deployed at ticket-gates
Delta R Item Scanner and the conceptual design deployed at ticket-gates

The Delta R could act as a preventive method and would make it possible to scan 100% of the visitors, without limiting the throughput, for traces of fireworks. Ultimately the goal being to reduce the number of fireworks smuggled during football matches and increase the safety of all the people in the football stadium.

 

This gives perspective for future investigations on how to deploy the Delta R Technology in firework detection. Speaking on behalf of the entire Delta R team, we would like to thank all parties involved within this project and congratulate the students that have been involved with their impressive result.

Jim van Etten

Like to know more about this project? Contact Jim van Etten

+31 (0) 88 250 16 00 / insight@sg11.nl