Steel City derby 'most expensive match to police in country', according to figures

Police at one of the Steel City derbies last year.
Police at one of the Steel City derbies last year.
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The Steel City derby was the most expensive football match to police in the country last season, according to figures.

Stars gathered by the BBC using the Freedom of Information Act revealed the match between Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United at Hillsborough on September 24 2017 cost £203, 000 to police.

Mark Roberts.

Mark Roberts.

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This was the most expensive match to police in the 2017/18 season based on the cost to the public purse.

However, the stats also showed the home side, Sheffield Wednesday, paid just £41, 000 of the total with the rest being picked up from policing budgets.

South Yorkshire Police has previously said the cost is unsustainable and unless the government changes funding rules and allows forces to recoup more from clubs, away fans may have to be banned from games.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts said alcohol may also be banned from stadiums and early morning kick off times may have to introduced to reduce the risk of disorder at games, which would reduce the need for as many police officers.

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DCC Roberts, who is the national lead for football policing, said that under the rules governing what can and can't be claimed back by South Yorkshire Police, none of of the officers used on the roads outside stadiums or at notorious flash points for rival fans can be recouped.

Neither can the cost of officers used in the aftermath of incidents, including violent clashes between fans outside stadiums.

Forces on average recoup an average of one third of the costs associated with policing football matches.

DCC Roberts said: "There needs to be a re-think about the funding of policing.

"I am not attacking football. Clubs are paying what they are legally obliged to under the current regulations but they are so unfairly weighted.

"It cost the Met £10 million to police matches last year and British Transport Police £5 million. This is money used which could be used on our core functions. .

"We can't afford to subsidise clubs to the detriment of our local communities and that is what is happening."

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A Home Office spokesman said: "The Government has set out a comprehensive settlement to strengthen local, national and counter-terrorism policing. In 2018/19, South Yorkshire will receive £5 million more than in 2017/18, including Council Tax precept.

"During his speech to the Police Federation, the Home Secretary committed to prioritising police funding in next year’s Spending Review.

"Police and Crime Commissioners’ ability to recover costs for football games is determined by recent court decisions on Special Police Services, which have been clear that SPS can only be charged on private land."