Force to charge foot­ball clubs more for polic­ing

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Neil Elkes Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Cor­re­spon­dent

WEST Mid­lands Po­lice chiefs have re­vealed the force has been un­der­charg­ing foot­ball clubs for send­ing of­fi­cers to matches, cost­ing the tax­payer an es­ti­mated £188,000.

Now the force is to in­crease the fees it charges clubs in­clud­ing As­ton Villa, Birm­ing­ham City, West Brom and Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers to cover the costs off polic­ing high-pro­file games.

The new in­come will be partly off­set by a de­crease in other fees but leave the force charg­ing the clubs an ex­tra £80,000 per year.

Po­lice Com­mis­sioner David Jamieson said: “The in­crease in fees amounts to no more than some clubs pay their top play­ers each week.”

The £188,000 short­fall comes from un­der-charg­ing for matches held on bank hol­i­days. Re­search by the po­lice fi­nance of­fice found that other forces charge a pre­mium for pub­lic hol­i­days.

They worked out that they should have charged an ex­tra £188,000 dur­ing the 2016/17 sea­son and are hop­ing to per­suade the clubs to con­trib­ute more from the start of the 2018/19 sea­son this sum­mer.

But more than half the sav­ings are set to be lost fol­low­ing a le­gal dis­pute between Suf­folk Po­lice and Ip­swich Town FC in which the courts de­cided the po­lice could not charge the club for polic­ing streets sur­round­ing the ground on match day. It is thought this could cost the West Mid­lands about £110,000 a year.

Po­lice com­mis­sioner David Jamieson said: “West Mid­lands Po­lice has been un­der­charg­ing com­pared to other forces for polic­ing foot­ball matches.

“From next sea­son I am en­sur­ing West Mid­lands Po­lice in­creases its charges in line with other forces. When other changes to charg­ing are con­sid­ered this will bring in about £80,000 a year spread across the re­gion’s clubs.”

> Polic­ing fees for matches like Birm­ing­ham City v As­ton Villa will rise

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