Fans offer to help resolve Ipswich Town policing cost row

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

Police before an Ipswich Town game at Portman Road. Picture: PAUL CHESTERTON/FOCUS IMAGES - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Football supporters have offered to sit down with police to discuss how much Ipswich Town should pay towards policing its home games.

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

The club’s contribution was £101,418.32.

Suffolk Constabulary chief constable Gareth Wilson said football clubs should contribute more towards the cost of policing at their grounds, adding: “In Suffolk we feel the current split is unfair.

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

Now Mark Ramsey, secretary of Ipswich Town Supporters’ Club, has offered to try and help resolve the situation.

“I’d be more than willing to meet with them as a representative of the supporters’ club,” he said.

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“I’d be more than willing to sit down with the police inspector to discuss it, go through it in a professional manner and to try and work with them, not against them, rather than having a slanging match.

Mr Ramsey believes part of the cost may be down to the fact some games require more police presence than others.

Seven of the 10 arrests at made during matches at Portman Road last season, for instance, came at Town’s game with Norwich City.

“The policing cost depends on the amount of away supporters,” Mr Ramsey said.

“Ipswich Town supporters do not cause a lot of trouble and the level of policing, in my view, doesn’t need to be increased.

“We want responsible policing and we want a safe environment, but we don’t want it to be over the top. There’s a fine line.”

The row about policing costs came to a head earlier this year with the conclusion of a long-running legal battle, where Ipswich Town sued Suffolk Police for policing charges at Portman Road between 2008 and 2013.

It claimed the charges were unlawful and the High Court ruled the club was not responsible for the costs.

The Supreme Court later said the force could not appeal.

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

The spokesman added: “We have and continue to have a good relationship with Suffolk Police – both in football matters and in the wider community.”

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