Suffolk Constabulary court battle with Ipswich Town costs force nearly £200k so far

Police dominate the streets of Ipswich at the Ipswich v Norwich derby.

Police dominate the streets of Ipswich at the Ipswich v Norwich derby. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Suffolk Constabulary’s court battle with Ipswich Town over who pays for matchday policing has cost the force nearly £200,000 in legal fees, it has emerged.

Its costs are set to rise further after a High Court judge ruled earlier this year that Town had a “cause of action in restitution” because the payments were made in response to a demand that police had “no lawful power to make”.

If it loses an appeal by Ipswich Town the constabulary could also face paying the club’s legal costs as well as its own.

In reply to a Freedom of Information request by the EADT and Ipswich Star the force said: “The current costs associated with the appeal are £181,780.29, which includes all fees accrued to the date of the request (March 1). Please note these will not be the final costs as the appeal is ongoing and subject to change.

“The final figure will depend on the result of the appeal, which will include additional court costs to be paid by one of the parties.”

Asked if the constabulary wished to say anything further, Jonathan Ford, force spokesman, said: “Due to the ongoing legal process, it is not appropriate for the constabulary to comment any further.”

The courtroom battle about matchday policing at Town’s home games is to continue in June after the club was told last month it could seek compensation from Suffolk police over unlawful charges.

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The judgement came after warnings over the “financial challenges” facing the force.

The case centres on payments the club made for police services when playing home games from 2008-13. Town had sued Suffolk Constabulary for £200,000 last year, claiming the charges for policing in Portman Road and Sir Alf Ramsey Way were unlawful.

Last year a judge ruled the force was entitled to recover costs of policing these areas as they were classed “special police services” (SPS). Other costs incurred for policing the wider area, however, could not be charged for.

The latest litigation saw the club seek compensation for the sums paid for these services, provided in the wider Ipswich area. The next hearing is due on June 27-28.