Revealed: The £1.1m cost of policing football matches in South Yorkshire

Police at Bramall Lane
Police at Bramall Lane

Football matches in South Yorkshire cost more than £1.1 million to police last season, The Star can reveal.

That's how much South Yorkshire Police says it spent protecting crowds and maintaining law and order for home games at the region's five English Football League clubs.

Games at Hillsborough cost more than 430,000 to police last season

Games at Hillsborough cost more than 430,000 to police last season

Those sides between them contributed nearly £660,000 towards policing expenses, leaving the net cost to taxpayers at a little over £440,000.

Sheffield Wednesday's home games proved easily the most costly to police, at more than £430,000, though the Owls did provide nearly £200,000 towards that sum.

Games at Bramall Lane cost almost £170,000 to police, but Sheffield United actually shelled out slightly more than that, resulting in a net profit of nearly £4,000 for the force.

The difference between the figures for the two clubs could be down to the fact the Blades were playing in the division below their rivals last season and, according to worldfootball.net, had an average home gate for league matches of 21,892, compared with 27,129 for the Owls.

Barnsley's home games cost £232,000 to police, with the club contributing £133,000 towards that.

Rotherham's matches at the New York Stadium proved the next most expensive, at £205,000, of which they paid £99,000.

Doncaster Rovers were easily the cheapest club to police, at £64,000 for the season, towards which they contributed £20,000.

South Yorkshire Police said it has yet to finalise its budget for policing football matches this season, which will of course include the Sheffield derbies.

It has five football liaison officers, who work with the clubs to keep disorder to a minimum.

Each match is ranked based on the number of fans expected, the two sides' history and the potential risk posed by fans who may be intent on causing trouble.

The force says it is responsible for policing outside the stadiums and clubs are expected to ensure safety and security within.

Clubs can request additional police support within their ground, for which they must pay on a match-by-match basis.

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: “Football games are resource intensive, and the costs are mainly due to the need to increase staffing levels before, during and after games. However, public safety is our priority and we need to invest resources into each game as appropriate.

“The football clubs in South Yorkshire meet the cost of providing stewarding and security inside the grounds’ ‘footprint’, by which we mean the whole site, including car parks and the stadiums themselves. Whereas we are responsible for policing a much wider area, which can include the city centre, points all along the route to and from football grounds, and the roads and streets around the ground. Our policing operations also last longer than the 90 minutes of a football game: for example, on match day our policing operation could run from 10am to 8pm, if not longer.

“The difference in cost of policing between the two Sheffield clubs is purely down to practical considerations: Bramall Lane is a more compact site, whereas the geography of Hillsborough is more complex. It is further away from the city centre, so requires a greater of policing to and from the ground. Sheffield Wednesday’s position is the league has also means that they have recently been playing higher risk fixtures, which again require higher levels of police resourcing.”

COST OF POLICING FOOTBALL IN SOUTH YORKSHIRE

Club: Cost of policing home games // Contribution from club // Net cost

Sheffield Wednesday: £433,741 // £234,809 // £198,932

Sheffield United: £166,159 // £170,093 // £3,934

Doncaster Rovers: £63,669 // £19,746 // £43,922

Rotherham United: £204,711 // £99,126 // £105,584

Barnsley: £232,492 // £133,314 // £99,178

Total: £1,100,771 // £657,088 // £443,683

* figures from South Yorkshire Police, for the 2016/17 season