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Football-related arrests fall once more

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Football-related arrests have fallen once more and remain at historically low levels, according to Government statistics released today.

There were 1,638 football-related arrests in 2016-17, a 14% decrease of 257 on the previous season – equivalent to just four arrests per 100,000 match-going supporters.

The Home Office figures are the latest to show a long term drop in the number of football-related arrests. Almost halving over the last seven seasons: from 3,089 to 1,638 (a 47% drop).

FSF casework Amanda Jacks said: “It’s very pleasing to see arrests remaining at historically low levels.

“Any match-going fan will know that the overwhelming majority of football supporters are well behaved and that match days largely pass without incident – these figures reflect that.

 “Over the last seven seasons we’ve seen significant improvements to football policing, supporter behaviour and fans’ involvement in match-day planning. These have all contributed to a better match-day experience.”

Of the 1,638 football-related arrests, the three most common offence types were public disorder (31%), violent disorder (21%) and alcohol offences (16%). The EFL Championship contributed most to the arrest total (28%) and Birmingham City recorded most arrests for any individual club (71).

Football related arrests compare favourably to other large scale public events. At this year’s V-Festival in Birmingham, there were 42 arrests in total from the 90,000-strong crowd. Elsewhere there were 14 arrests at Chester Races’ May festival from 60,000 spectators.

“This demonstrates how safe football is and how misleading media coverage around disorder at the football can be,” Amanda said.

“It’s important to understand that the legislation around football is the most restrictive of any major past time in this county.

“Football fans face arrest for actions or behaviour that simply don’t exist as offences at any other event such as drinking alcohol in sight of the field of play.”

As well as arrests declining, the number of active banning orders in 2016-17 also fell by 7% while the number of new banning orders issued fell by 5% compared to the previous season.

The FSF and legal campaigners have long been promoting legal representation for football fans in trouble at the match and lifting the lid on the use of banning orders.

Thanks to West Midlands Police for the image used in this article. Reproduced here under Creative Commons license.

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