Ipswich Town should pay more towards policing its own home games, Suffolk’s top police officer says

PUBLISHED: 20:43 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 20:43 18 July 2018

Stewards and Police officers in portman road
Picture: ARCHANT

Stewards and Police officers in portman road Picture: ARCHANT

The amount Ipswich Town pays towards the cost of policing its own home games is “unfair” and should be higher, Suffolk’s top police officer has said.

Police before an Ipswich Town game at Portman Road. Picture: PAUL CHESTERTON/FOCUS IMAGESPolice before an Ipswich Town game at Portman Road. Picture: PAUL CHESTERTON/FOCUS IMAGES

A Freedom of Information request by this newspaper showed that Suffolk Police spent £381,934.12 policing the club’s matches at Portman Road during the 2017/18 season.

The club’s contribution was £101,418.32.

It follows a long-running legal battle, where the club sued Suffolk Constabulary for policing charges at Portman Road between 2008 and 2013 which it claimed were unlawful.

The High Court ruled the club was not responsible for the costs and the Supreme Court later said the force could not appeal.

However Suffolk chief constable Gareth Wilson believes there should be a change in the law whereby all football clubs contribute more towards the cost of policing at their grounds.

“As this Freedom of Information request shows, the public of Suffolk paid £280,000 over the course of last season as the constabulary’s share of policing Ipswich Town football matches,” Mr Wilson said.

“Nationally, police forces believe clubs in this multi-million pound industry should pay more towards policing costs, and in Suffolk we feel the current split is unfair.

“We intend to raise the issue with the government to seek an assessment as to whether there should be a change in the law.

“However, the High Court has made a judgement in the case of Ipswich Town and Suffolk Constabulary which affects all other forces. We will of course respect this and abide by it.”

A spokesman for Ipswich Town Football Club said: “The club falls in line with the rest of football and the law in how games are policed.

“We have and continue to have a good relationship with Suffolk Police - both in football matters and in the wider community, where we are working on new joint community initiatives with the police in assisting them to tackle crime and disorder in the county.”

The Freedom of Information request also revealed that there had been 10 arrests at Ipswich Town home matches.

They included two people arrested for affray at Town’s game against Birmingham City and one person for entering whilst drunk in the match against Leeds.

Seven people were arrested at the derby clash against Norwich City, including five for public order acts, one for drunk and disorderly and one for possession of a firework/flare at a sporting event.

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