Well at least it’s not a flame thrower: Polish police unveil their arsenal of weapons for Euro 2012 … including a portable tear gas machine
Much has been said about the danger football fans travelling to the Ukraine for Euro 2012 face from the country's notorious hooligans.
But should any of the visiting supporters try to cause trouble in Poland, the tournament's other host country, they face an even more fearsome opponent.
Poland's elite SWAT-style public order police squad have been deployed on heightened alert for rioters and thugs as the European Championships kick off in the country.
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Packing heat: The Polish police will be carrying a fearsome arsenal of crowd control - and deadly - weaponry including, pictured here, pump action shotguns which fire plastic baton rounds
The feared black-clad GROM - translated as Lightning Squad - have been rehearsing set-piece anti-riot tactics and simulated hostage rescues for weeks in the build up to the event.
The tournament kicks off tomorrow, with Poland facing Greece in the national stadium in Warsaw.
But the first real test for the riot police may come on Sunday when Ireland play their first match in Poznan against the Ukraine, whose ultra-violent Nazi-backing supporters have promised to turn the tournament into a bloodbath.
'Once these GROM troops get into action, they don't much care who's guilty or innocent,' said one security source. 'They just clear out everyone who isn't in a uniform.'
The squad will be backed up by snipers on building roofs and elite officers from Poland's notorious Riot Squad and Anti-Terrorist Unit.
Fears of violence: The heavily armed units are expected to be needed, especially since neo-Nazi Ukrainian football fans threatened to turn Euro 2012 into a bloodbath
Show of force: A man is forced to the ground during a training exercise in Krakow, Poland's second city, where the England team will be based for the duration of the tournament
The armed to the teeth cops will be packing portable tear gas machines, pump action shotguns with plastic baton rounds, and special pistols firing red dye capsules so officers can later identify rioters who got away.
They will also be issued with handguns with live 9mm rounds, handcuffs, pepper spray, body armour, helmets and shields. All the units have carried out terrifying public shows of strength with live training assaults on buses and simulated riots.
The ruthless reputation of the riot police is a hangover from Poland's communist days when they were used to viciously suppress democracy campaigners and described as the 'beating heart of the state.'
Indistinguishable from the hooligans? Uniformed officers will back up armed plainclothes units who will mingle with crowds of supporters looking for signs of any trouble brewing
A police spokesman said: 'We want everyone to have fun - but we’ll come down hard on anyone causing trouble.'
'Anyone who thinks they're here to cause trouble will wake up wondering which truck hit them'
Polish police officer
Fans arriving in Poland have already officially been read the riot act with a letter warning them that the country's Orders of Security Law for Mass Events is in force.
The order bans violence, drunkenness, sex in public places, disobeying police instructions and any action deemed to be 'disruptive' by police.
Fans can even be arrested if police see vomit stains on their clothes as evidence of drunkenness.
'Anyone who wants to come here to watch football will be more than welcome,' said one officer.
'But anyone who thinks they're here to cause trouble will wake up wondering which truck hit them,' he added.
Edited by Marty McFly, 08 June 2012 - 07:12 AM.