Home Office 2012-13 football arrest figures released

Newly-released figures show the general downwards trend in football-related arrests is continuing, although the Home Office says there remains a “significant risk” that will change if efforts to tackle disorder are reduced.

During the 2012-13 season the number arrests in connection with all international and domestic football matches involving teams from, or representing, England and Wales was 2,456. This is a slight increase of 4%, or 93 arrests, on the 2011-12 total which was the lowest total on record.

The statistics cover all arrests designated in law under schedule 1 of the Football Spectators Act 1989 reported by police to the Football Banning Orders Authority.

This includes football specific offences, such as throwing missiles in a stadium or pitch encroachment, and a wide range of generic criminal offences committed in connection with a football match. The figures cover arrests at any place within a period of 24 hours either side of a match.

For the first time data was collated on a full season of football-related offence arrests made by British Transport Police who made an additional 316 arrests.

Facts and figures:

  • Total attendance in excess of 39 million at regulated football matches. 
  • The total number of arrests represents less than 0.01% of the total, or 1 arrest for every 14,000 spectators. 
  • During the season an average of less than 1 arrest made per match inside and outside of stadia (Premier League 1.90, Championship 1.13, League One 0.42, League Two 0.29). 
  • No arrests at 75% of all regulated matches. 
  • 58% of all matches were police free
  • More than 100,000 English and Welsh club fans travelled to Champions League and Europa League matches outside of England and Wales. These 44 matches resulted in just 20 arrests of away fans. 
  • The number of football banning orders decreased by 11% to 2,451 on 20th September 2013 from 2,750 on 9th November 2012. 
  • This includes 471 new banning orders imposed during the reporting period (589 orders imposed over a full 12 months). Orders are time limited and expiring all the time.

FSF response

Malcolm Clarke, Chair of the Football Supporters’ Federation, said: “These figures are very low – there was only one arrest for every 14,000 fans. While there’s no room for complacency my daughter and I feel much safer going to a football match every weekend, than I do walking past the clubs and pubs near my home on a Saturday evening.

“We never like to see arrest figures rise but the increase is minimal compared to last year’s 23% decrease. It is time that football fans and football clubs are given some credit for the huge reduction in football disorder in recent years.”

Thanks to Joe Dunckley for the image reproduced under CC license.