South Yorkshire Police has been working with football fans to find a more collaborative approach to the policing of matches. This new approach was introduced at the recent game between Sheffield United and Millwall and I’m glad that it seems to have been a positive experience for supporters.
I was happy to help set up meetings between the police and supporters to help improve their relationship. Football puts a huge strain on police resources and violence in football has become much worse in recent years so anything that can help to ease the burden on the police is welcome.
I raised this issue in Parliament during 2017 after being shocked by the huge cost of policing football matches. The cost to the Met of policing Premier League football in 2017 was almost £7 million, but the clubs contributed only £360,000 to these costs.
Given that, at the same time, these clubs were drawing in more than £240 million every match day, it seems high time that they contribute more to help support our overstretched police forces.
When violent crime is rocketing elsewhere in Sheffield, it’s not acceptable that football is placing such a demand on police officers, so I’m glad that Sheffield United and supporters have embraced a new approach.