Football arrests 'highest in years' & disorder on the rise - police

The trouble at Wembley.

Arrests at football matches across the top five English leagues are at their highest levels in years, with fan disorder "getting worse" according to the UK's football policing lead.

The data from the first half of the season shows the return of fans to capacity stadiums after the Euro 2020 final violence, which found "ticketless, drunken and drugged-up thugs" could have caused death.

There have been more than 800 football-related arrests in the first six months of the season.

Mark Roberts, the head of the UK's Football Policing Unit, said cases of anti-social behavior among younger fans is a particular area of concern.

Roberts has previously voiced his concern about the safety of the rail seats and the pilot scheme to allow fans to drink in sight of the pitch.

He said the current level of activity is concerning and that there will be increased levels of disorder after a major tournament.

The key statistics are more trouble, more arrests, and fewer games.

The last six-month period without restrictions for the English domestic competition was from July to December of 2019.
The number of football related arrests this season is the highest since the UKFPU started keeping records.
In the season 19-20, 34% of all games in the National League were affected by disorder, compared to 42% in the current season.
Flares, missiles, and hate crime were reported in 759 incidents, up from 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932 888-276-5932.
There were more incidents involving young supporters under the age of 25. The five year average of incidents under 25 was 168.
There have been fewer games this season due to postponements.
The Championship and National league have seen the biggest increase in reported incidents of disorder. In the national league and Championship, it was up over 50%.
Police presence at football matches in the top 5 English divisions is at a higher rate than in games in 19-20.

Culture at games is the biggest challenge.

The mass disorder at the Euro 2020 final was described in a report as a day of national shame by the Baroness.

LadyCasey recommended a Football Association campaign to force a sea- change in attitudes towards supporter behaviours, in order to tackle the "culture" of disorder at football matches.

One fan at that game told Radio 5 live that a group of their friends snorted cocaine in their row. It felt very dangerous.

Testimony given to BaronessCasey's report suggested a lot of drugs were being taken. According to the report, almost half of the 7,000 ticket holders who took part in the review saw illegal drug taking when they arrived at Wembley, with steward and security staff reporting a high level of drug use.

"I think drugs is a much bigger issue than people have realised, and I think there is a national conversation about greater civility and responsibility that goes beyond football," said LadyCasey.

Steve lives for football culture.

The story of a football fan named Steve was posted on social media by the Football Supporters Association.

Steve lives for football culture, a culture that belongs to a lot of young men. A culture that involves mates, fashion, image, alcohol and cocaine. He tells me that he won't run from it either, but he doesn't go looking for bother.

It wasn't enough for him to give up his moderate lifestyle because he had already been convicted of a relatively minor offence.

He said that it made him feel like a man and that it enabled him to exert a certain type of masculinity. He was aware that some would describe that as toxic.

Steve doesn't want to save for his future despite making good money. Steve doesn't see convention or stability in his future.

I can't stop thinking about how a person who is self aware and insightful can be so addicted to a way of life that is not healthy.

Steve is aware of the real potential that his choices may not end at all well for him, and he is prepared to chuck his future away so he can exert a certain type of masculinity.

What are the reasons?

The data would match what we have been hearing from both football officers and fan representatives, according to Professor Pearson, one of the UK's leading experts on football-related disorder.

"It is quite usual for us to see fluctuations in football violence and disorder, but I think the new stats are interesting because they tend to indicate a national trend," said Pearson.

Some of the reasons include fan behavior and overall match management.

The post-lockdown effect could be that fans didn't have the chance to engage in carnivalesque behavior during the lock down, and now they are letting their hair down and engaging in more of that behavior that is challenging and bordering.

In terms of management, we have had 18 months out of live football attendance and that has had an effect on the police because they haven't been able to engage in dialogue and identify problematic individuals because they haven't been there.

There have been calls to change alcohol consumption laws at football, which are currently banned when in sight of the pitch, due to the increase in disorder. Pearson thinks that the laws need a rethink.

The legislation introduced in the 1980s hasn't been effective at reducing alcohol consumption and has in fact created issues such as crushing at concourses, late entry at the turnstiles and those are many.