West Midlands Police has apologised after two of its officers were filmed conducting England fans singing a banned football chant outside a Black Country pub.
A video shared on social media shows one male and one female officer encouraging a group of supporters singing the Ten German Bombers in front of the Registry pub in Walsall town centre.
In the footage – taken in Leicester Street after England’s semi-final win over Denmark on Wednesday – the two officers are shown waving their arms to conduct the chant, while the male officer can be seen shushing the crowd before shouting “how many bombers?”
As the crowd continues to chant, the officer throws his arms in the air and claps along. Behind him the female officer can be seen encouraging the crowd with arm movements.
West Midlands Police has since acknowledged that the song is “extremely distasteful,” apologised for “any offence caused” and said the officers involved would be spoken to.
The chant, sung to the tune of She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain, references how the RAF shot down German Luftwaffe planes during the Second World War and is banned by the English Football Association (FA).
The FA had previously warned that fans chanting any “discriminatory or disrespectful” songs at Wembley could be banned from attending matches. The statement came after it was alleged that some fans were singing the Second World War song ahead of the Croatia fixture in the group stages.
The FA told the Telegraph: “We always encourage our fans to positively get behind the team, and this includes supporting England in the right way, before, during and after the match.
“This message will be shared with them once again before Tuesday’s fixture, as well as thanking them for their support.
“We will also strongly condemn any behaviour at Wembley Stadium that is discriminatory or disrespectful, and we will take action where appropriate as we try to ensure all England matches are a safe and enjoyable experience.’
The song is now rarely heard by large groups at England matches but is sometimes sung in the ground, on the street and in pubs.
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “We apologise for any offence caused by the celebrations in Walsall on Wednesday night.
“While our officers joined in with the best of intentions, we realise that the song being sung is banned by the FA and extremely distasteful.
“We are currently assessing the incident and will be speaking to the officers involved to address it, and ensure they understand the impact.
“After reaching the final of the Euros we are grateful to everyone who has conducted themselves responsibly and respectfully, and we look forward to the final on Sunday evening.”