Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts has highlighted the issue of costs incurred by South Yorkshire Police when policing football matches across the county.
DCC Roberts explains: ‘These graphics show the overall cost to South Yorkshire Police for policing football matches. Last year nationally, only roughly a third of the costs could be recouped from clubs, and it is left to the police forces to cover the remaining costs, which ultimately means less police time spent in communities. In real terms if we didn’t have to subsidise football in this way we could recruit an extra 27 police officers to work in South Yorkshire. Football policing must be the only monopoly in the country to make a loss.
“I want to make it clear, this is not an issue we have with the clubs themselves. They are playing by the rules as they stand; it is the charging framework that needs to be reviewed, as it doesn’t provide a sustainable position for police forces. While successive courts have ruled against the service in legal cases surrounding charging, the judges have consistently commented on the fact the current arrangements are unfair to the police.
“Football is a multi-billion pound industry and the money involved is eye-watering. In a recent Deloitte report, it stated during the 16/17 season Football League clubs spent a total of £328million on transfers, which is significantly more than the total budget to run South Yorkshire Police for a year.
“Following a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, relating to Ipswich Town, police forces have to cover the costs of the policing operations on streets adjacent to the grounds, which have been closed specifically because a match is taking place. Charging also doesn’t cover the work involved in keeping fans and members of the public safe in the surrounding areas, train stations and pubs before and after matches take place.
“In the current climate of police funding, we simply can’t afford to continue subsiding football matches, and every officer deployed, or pound spent on policing games, is money and time taken away from neighbourhood policing or supporting vulnerable people.
“Together with the 45 per cent increase in disorder being seen within stadiums themselves and the national reduction of 20,000 police officers compared to 2010, this is simply not sustainable.”
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