Security preparations for UEFA EURO 2012 have been ongoing for a number of weeks but it is only during the course of the tournament itself that the responsibility really ramps up, as UEFA.com discovered when sharing a day in the life of Ukrainian policeman Ihor Hnyliuh.
Police captain Hnyliuh begins his day at the Main Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine (MDMIA) in Lviv in front of the screen of his computer ploughing through his daily backlog of administration. The life of a lawman, after all, is not just about protecting the streets, but Hnyliuh does not mind clearing the paperwork. "When you enjoy your job, you go to work with pleasure," he explains. "We have wonderful staff here and everyone chips in. It's a great working environment."
The city streets, however, do not keep themselves safe and Hnyliuh admits he and his colleagues have spent a good number of sleepless nights protecting the people of Lviv. In order to police effectively communication plays a key role, so when dealing with a difficult situation you have to know how to use the right language to resolve the problem. "There is only one rule in those situations," he says. "You mustn't forget that you're not acting on your own but on behalf of the state, and with the police badge comes huge responsibility."
There are no days off in the profession of the policeman. You must always be on the lookout, and in that regard Hnyliuh finds parallels with the main protagonists of UEFA EURO 2012. "We have something in common with the football players," says Hnyliuh, of policing at the stadium. "We can't relax during the match either. The slightest lapse can lead to conceding a goal."
So far Hnyliuh and his colleagues have managed to keep a clean sheet, the problems among German, Portuguese and Danish fans having been minimal as a result, Hnyliuh believes, of their mastery of a common tongue. "Learning English has helped us a lot," he adds. "Even a basic level is enough to understand the fans."
At the end of a long day, Hnyliuh, like thousands of fellow officers, looks forward to his other life. Far from the stressful and chaotic world of policing he returns home to his wife and two children. "It's the best form of relaxation after a hard day's work," he says. "Your family always lifts your spirits because only among your loved ones do you feel completely happy."
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