West Ham worst as alarming figures show rise in offenders

Pitch invasion at Goodison Park – Football crime on the rise: New stats show how late-season pitch invasions led to spike – GETTY IMAGES

An epidemic of pitch invasions, missile launches, flares and hate crimes sent soccer-related arrests to their worst level in eight years last season.

Police arrested a total of 2,198 people during the first full campaign since the coronavirus pandemic, 59% more than in 2018-19 and the most since 2013-14.

West Ham United fans were the worst offenders, with 95 arrests, followed by Manchester City (76), Manchester United (72), Leicester City (59) and Everton (58).

The alarming figures, published on Thursday by the Home Office, were compounded by a 127 per cent rise in pitch invasions (441) compared to three years earlier, a 118 per cent rise in possession of fireworks (729), a 99 percent increase in hate crime incidents (384), and an 86 percent increase in missile launches.

Police Chief Mark Roberts, National Police Chiefs Council leader for football policing, said: “The release of these statistics underscores that the rise in disorder we saw midway through the 2021/22 season has continued, and cannot be left out. to fans returning to the stadiums after the lockdown.

“Clutter is a problem that has not gone away and throughout last season we saw an increase in crime at football matches across the country, from the Premier League to the National League.

“After constructive talks with the Premier League, EFL [English Football League] and AF [Football Association] we are eager to support our partners in delivering their proposals, including the introduction of stadium bans for people entering the field as well as those using pyrotechnics. Statistics released today show a worrying increase in these crimes, which are extremely dangerous for players, staff and fans alike. In addition to being prohibited, anyone who commits these crimes should also expect to be prosecuted by the police.

“We know that drug use, along with alcohol, is one of the key factors leading to disorderly behaviour, and we are pleased that the government is adding Class A drug offenses to prohibition order legislation. This will give police another option to address criminal and antisocial behavior of those under the influence of drugs.

“Anyone who commits a crime, whether on or off a football pitch, can expect to face the consequences of their actions. The increase in soccer arrests and banning orders demonstrates that police are taking positive steps to address issues, working closely with CPS. [Crown Prosecution Service]. We collectively need to make football a safe environment for the vast majority of fans who just want to enjoy the game.

“At the same time, the forces have a wide range of diversionary activities to deal with the growing number of young fans who are behaving inappropriately and we will only achieve our collective goal if everyone works together and puts fans first. true supporters of their clubs. ”

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