Despite regularly portraying football fans as individuals that are intent on disrespect, disobedience and disorder, the UK Government’s football-related arrest figures for 2016-17 paint a different picture.
According to the newly released statistics, football-related arrests have fallen once again and are at historically low levels. The Home Office figures show a long term drop in the number of football-related arrests, almost halving over the last seven seasons from 3,089 to 1,638.
Football Supporters Federation (FSF) Caseworker, Amanda Jacks, said: “It’s very pleasing to see arrests remaining at historically low levels. Any match-going fan will know that the overwhelming majority of football supporters are well behaved and that match days largely pass without incident – these figures reflect that.”
There were 1,638 football-related arrests in 2016-17 – equivalent to just four arrests per 100,000. This compares to five arrests per 100,000 at the Grand National, nine at the Royal Ascot, 16 at the Henley Regatta, 31 at the Notting Hill Festival and 53 at Glastonbury.
Amanda Jacks continued: “Over the last seven seasons we’ve seen significant improvements to football policing, supporter behaviour and fans’ involvement in match-day planning. These have all contributed to a better match-day experience.”
Of the 1,638 football-related arrests, the three most common offence types were public disorder (31%), violent disorder (21%) and alcohol offences (16%). The EFL Championship contributed most to the arrest total (28%) and Birmingham City recorded most arrests for any individual club (71).
Amanda Jacks added: “This demonstrates how safe football is and how misleading media coverage around disorder at the football can be. It’s important to understand that the legislation around football is the most restrictive of any major past time in this country. Football fans face arrest for actions or behaviour that simply don’t exist as offences at any other event such as drinking alcohol in sight of the field of play.”
Football fans may have bad reputations, but as the latest statistics show, they’re certainly getting the raw end of the deal.
Full statistics can be found here.