News from Andrew Dismore: Football clubs short-change Met on costs of policing matches
Ahead of the new football season, renewed calls have been made for London’s football clubs to pay more towards matchday policing costs. This comes after new figures show that taxpayers handed over £5 million to police London’s football matches last season. Analysis of the data obtained by London Assembly Member, Andrew Dismore AM, reveals that this amount would be enough to fund 95 extra police officers in the capital.
Data provided by the Mayor of London, shows that during the 2017/18 season, the net cost of deploying officers to football club related operations in London totalled £5,237,716.
Whilst this is a fifth lower than in the 2016/17 season where the net cost was £6,699,202, concerns have been raised over the fact that last season saw only 7.7% of matchday policing costs recovered by the Metropolitan Police.
In the Premier League, Tottenham topped the table with the highest policing costs during the 2017/2018 season of £1,201,382, but only paid £61,935 back to the Met. However, Arsenal had significantly lower costs of £890,455, and reimbursed the Met Police with £123,877.
The extent to which football clubs foot the bill for police resources is determined by existing legislation that dictates that teams should only be charged for policing inside the stadium, or on land that they own.
In light of the pressures that have been placed upon the Metropolitan Police by budget cuts and the rise in violent crime, there have been calls from the Mayor of London for the law to be updated, to ensure that on matchdays, the full costs of policing activity are covered by clubs.
The Mayor of London recently released new figures revealing the true extent of the damage caused by sustained government cuts to the Met Police’s budget. The data shows that in 2010, the Met Police were able to deploy 4.1 officers per 1,000 Londoners.
However, after facing the brunt of £720 million of cuts over the last eight years, the ratio has now decreased to 3.3 officers per 1,000. This marks the lowest point in two decades.
London Assembly Member, Andrew Dismore AM, said:
“Top-flight London football clubs make huge revenues, so it is scandalous that they are not lawfully obliged to dig a lot deeper to pay for the substantial costs of matchday policing.
“With police numbers falling to their lowest in 20 years, the money that these clubs have withheld from the Met could be used to fund almost 100 desperately needed officers. However, consistent and widespread calls for urgent change have so far been met with indifference from the Home Office.
“If we are to comprehensively crack down on violent crime, it is clear that we all need to come together in our communities and play our part in supporting local police forces.
“Whilst there needs to be drastic change in the law on the issue of matchday policing costs, football clubs have a moral obligation to their community to come forward and properly pay their way to ensure that vital Met funding is not unnecessarily diverted”.
Notes to editors
-In a response to Andrew Dismore AM’s question to the Mayor, it was revealed that taxpayers handed over £5,237,716 to police London’s football matches last season;
- Analysis based on current average salaries shows that this amount could fund 95 police officers in the capital;
- This is a fifth lower than in the 2016/17 season where the net cost was £6,699,202;
- Across London, during the 2017/2018 season, only 7.7% of football match policing costs were recovered by the Metropolitan Police;
-In the Premier League, Tottenham topped the table with the highest policing costs of £1,201,382, but only paid £61,935 back to the Met. However, Arsenal had significantly lower costs of £890,455, but reimbursed the police with £123,877;
-A High Court Ruling from 2012, dictates that football clubs should only be charged for policing inside the stadium, or on their land. The law also dictates that football clubs have no legal obligation, when managing travelling supporters or police incidents that occur outside the ground, to reimburse any costs to the Met;
- Recent data published by the Mayor of London shows that in 2010, the Met Police were able to deploy 4.1 officers per 1,000 Londoners. This ratio has now decreased to 3.3 officers per 1,000. This marks the lowest point in two decades;
-Andrew Dismore AM is the London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden.