SCOTLAND’S leading football clubs have it within their power to implement a wide range of far-reaching measures which will successfully tackle the growing problem of crowd disorder at matches, a senior police representative today claimed.

Calls for strict liability – which sees clubs punished with fines and even points deductions regardless of the safeguards they have put in place to prevent trouble flaring – to be introduced have increased this season following a string of high-profile incidents.

However, bringing in those tougher regulations was overwhelmingly rejected at the SFA AGM back in 2013 and there appears little prospect of them being given the green light in future.

But David Hamilton, the vice chair of the Scottish Police Federation, has stressed that clubs already have it within their power to address many of the issues which are increasingly tarnishing our national game.

READ MORE: Rangers captain James Tavernier calls for clubs to stop supporter attacks after being confronted at Easter Road

Demanding fans provide identification before allowing them through the turnstiles, banning banners from stadiums, investing more heavily in better stewarding, closing down stands and publicly urging supporters to report troublemakers to the authorities are all initiatives he believes would work.

“In Italy you have to prove your identity to get into a football ground,” said Hamilton. “You are allocated a seat once you have shown who you are. That is a very simple way of knowing who is sitting where within a ground.

“You need to know who you are dealing with in order to be able to build a case against the hooligans for either prosecution or a banning order. You have to show they are involved.

“It is a very simple way to say: ‘Well, we know who you are’. The difficulty we have is we don’t know who it is. That is down to poor CCTV footage or the reluctance of other fans to report them. Identification is a way of dealing with that.”

Hamilton added: “There are other things they can do. They could take banners away on entirely legitimate safety grounds because fans are still smuggling in pyrotechnics. There is a potential fire risk.

“We have football fans smuggling pyrotechnics into stadia. They shouldn’t be there. That is bringing a safety risk to it. We need to start looking at the bigger picture here. Is it appropriate that people are starting to set off flares and firecrackers in a stadium environment and then putting a flammable blanket over the top of it? Really?

“We have got evidence where banners have been stored inside the grounds in advance of a match. The fans have been given access to the storeroom to get the banners out. That is a preposterous situation. The club is complicit in the banners that are getting shown. That is not on.

“That doesn’t seem to be getting picked up by the safety regime which is part of the problem. If they are going to take this seriously then they need to do this properly. Frankly, I really wonder who’s running the clubs at times. Is it the vast number of good, well-behaved, decent fans? Or is it the hooligan element? It is like dealing with children at times.

READ MORE: Hooliganism in football is now endemic - the authorities must act before someone is seriously hurt

“And many of the banners are inappropriate and offensive. Is it a football match or is it a political rally? They need to decide which it is. They are obstructing the view of a lot of fans underneath.”

Hamilton has also been disappointed by the repeated failure of clubs to ask their supporters for assistance singling out those responsible for throwing missiles at match officials and rival players.

“You have to get the fans involved in it,” he said. “It never fails to surprise me how, after we get incidents at games, the clubs are very slow to appeal to good fans to come forward and identify who the people responsible were and cooperate with a police investigation. Suddenly it is a policing problem.

“It is normalising these behaviours. People seem to think it is alright to do that. It has to be pointed out this is the exception. This is where the fans have a huge responsibility to self-police this and let us know who is doing it. The culprits don’t have an invisible cloak on when they are doing it.

“You obviously can’t ban coins. But what you can do is say the behaviour is unacceptable. If somebody does something like that it needs to be called out by everybody and dealt with.”

READ MORE: SPFL condemn Hibs fan who 'confronted' Rangers captain James Tavernier

The attack on James Tavernier, the Rangers captain, by a Hibernian fan at Easter Road on Friday night led to questions about whether adequate safety measures were in place for the Ladbrokes Premiership match.

Hamilton defended the police’s role in maintaining order at matches and suggested that improving the standard of stewarding at games could be one route that clubs could seriously examine if they are serious about avoiding more pitch invasions in future.

“The role of police at matches is not to steward,” he said. “That is the club’s responsibility. We are only there to support. We don’t even want to be at the match. We have enough other things to be doing.

“We accept that there can be times when people go over the mark and it requires a policing response because we have the powers, the training and the professionalism to deal with it.

“It is the club that decides to pay stewards minimum wage. If they want to fund that better and bring in more professional stewards then great, go for it.

“I suspect there is a business model at play here. People are sitting back and not investing in the stewarding they are requiring and not putting the resources into that. Now that is frankly a nonsense with, of all games football, with some of the salaries that are getting paid. It doesn’t wash.”

Steve Clarke, the Kilmarnock manager, hit the headlines when he denounced the sectarian abuse he had been subjected to at William Hill Scottish Cup game against Rangers at Ibrox last month.

Many in Scottish football feel that offensive chants are impossible to deal with due to the numbers involved. How do you ban or prosecute thousands of people? But Hamilton disagrees.

“Sectarian songs are coming back in again,” he said. “If one part of the ground starts singing sectarian songs then close it. That is the type of stuff where clubs need to be much firmer, much tougher. They have to say: ‘No, the impact of you doing this is destroying the club, the club’s reputation and indeed the game’s reputation’. “