Force to charge football clubs more for policing
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