West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has called on the Home Office to implement a more equitable cost recovery arrangement for football policing operations.
This follows correspondence from Lancashire Constabulary’s Assistant Chief Constable Terry Woods, who outlined to Rosie that the cost to police forces last year of football operations came in at £48million, with just £5.5million recovered from football clubs.
In Lancashire, the Constabulary lost out on £170,000 in unrecovered policing costs, and that is expected to rise to over £384,000 this season.
The Home Office has responded to MP Rosie explaining that forces can charge for Special Police Services (SPS) under section 20 of the Police Act 1996, but following the recent Ipswich Town v Suffolk Constabulary case, the settled legal position is that police forces cannot charge for SPS on public land.
The ruling means that costs cannot be recouped for policing football matches around stadiums including traffic management and crowd control, or attending any disruptions.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“Lancashire Constabulary has had its funding cut significantly since 2010 to the point where there are much fewer officers on the street, while they are being asked to do more, from being first response for mental health incidents, to policing private operations such as fracking sites in Lancashire.
“It seems ridiculous that Premier League football clubs pay obscene wages to players and many clubs make huge profits. The Home Secretary should bring in a scheme whereby the amount repaid should be proportionate to their high income. If they can afford huge salaries for players they can pay their way to enable Police Forces do the job the public expect.
“People believe that the effects of the Police cuts is this stark and very clear increase in violent crime. Local residents must have confidence and that is clearly lacking at present. Without the visible presence of Police on the beat, those carrying out these acts and carrying weapons do not fear getting caught – this must change. This is where the Police should be, not using resources for organisations who can afford to pay for their policing.
“Lancashire Constabulary must be funded appropriately and where costs are incurred these must be picked up and recouped so that our scarce resources are being utilised effectively. The law should be changed to allow recovery of these costs.”