Football fans in England and Wales still 'over-policed'

Liverpool supporters The FSA says policing levels at football grounds should fall even further

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Football fans in England and Wales continue to be over-policed, the Footballer Supporters' Federation (FSF) has said.

FSF spokeswoman Amanda Jacks said fans were still being "subject to heavy-handed policing week in, week out".

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the police were wrong to treat supporters as hooligans, when many fans were families and children.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has disputed the claim.

Start Quote

What we are saying to the police is judge us on our behaviour at the time, and not our reputation”

End Quote Andrew Holt FSF

Andrew Holt, the Assistant Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police who speaks on football issues for ACPO, said 43% of Premier League matches now had no police presence, instead relying solely upon the clubs' stewards.

"If you look at a club like Sheffield Wednesday, perhaps 20 years ago South Yorkshire would have sent over 1,100 officers to a high risk match," he said.

"That figure today has dropped to below 300, which reflects the changes in football, and the change to the demographic [of fans]."

Ms Jacks, who works on policing and legal issues for the FSF, said that policing levels at football grounds could fall still further, pointing out that arrest levels at matches had now fallen to one person for every 10,000, and that only one in 10 of all arrests were for violent offences.

"The demographic of match going fans has changed dramatically, with many more families, children and women," she said.

"What we are saying to the police is judge us on our behaviour at the time, and not our reputation."

The FSF is due to discuss the issue later at its latest annual gathering or "Fans Parliament".

The organisation represents football fans from across England and Wales.

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