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Security improving at football stadiums with arrests at record lows

New figures published by the Home Office have revealed that the total number of football-related arrests for the 2013-2014 season was the lowest on record at just 2,273. 

This is significantly lower than the equivalent figure of 2,456 that was recorded for the previous, 2012-2013 season and means that the total number of arrests last season was down seven per cent. This is a very minor proportion of the total number of people attending regulated matches, which stood at a little over 38.23 million. 

All these figures account for arrests made in connection with regulated international and domestic football matches involving teams from, or representing, England and Wales - and the year-on-year drop by 183 arrests continues a general downward trend. 

The statistics could be regarded as an indication that security at football stadiums on match days is improving. Indeed, the Home Office underlined the fact that the data should be considered as a reflection of increased police activity. 

More than 60,000 fans of English and Welsh football clubs travelled to matches outside of these countries for Champions League and Europa League matches. A total of 36 games were accounted for as part of this trend - and just 18 arrests of away fans were made as part of this activity. 

Not every single incident of violent or disorderly behaviour led to an arrest being made. In addition to this, some arrests could have been made as a preventative action. 

Firms tasked with bolstering the presence of manned security at football matches may wish to bear in mind the Home Office's warning that there could still be a significant risk of escalation in criminal activity if efforts to prevent and tackle football-related disorder are reduced.

The figures include offences specific to football, such as, pitch incursion and throwing missiles inside a stadium. A range of generic criminal offences committed in connection with a football match - in other words 24 hours before or after the game - are also covered.

It was noted that the 2013-2014 season was the second year in which it has been possible to include British Transport Police's football-related arrests. This totalled 325, which is a three per cent increase on the corresponding figure recorded the year before. 

Manchester United were the individual team faced with the highest number of arrests of supporters by police, with 112. This is in contrast with the lowest, which was Norwich City, who had a total of four fans arrested - two at home games and two away. 

In the second league tier - the Championship - the most arrests were of Leeds United supporters at 91. In contrast, the fewest were made for Brighton & Hove Albion at five, with Reading and Yeovil Town close behind with six arrests.

 

Posted by Andrew Miller

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