Football arrests on increase
ARRESTS made at football matches involving the region's teams rose last season, Home Office figures have revealed.Both Ipswich Town and Colchester United saw a rise in the number of arrests made at their games in 2002/2003 – as the national figures skyrocketed.
ARRESTS made at football matches involving the region's teams rose last season, Home Office figures have revealed.
Both Ipswich Town and Colchester United saw a rise in the number of arrests made at their games in 2002/2003 – as the national figures skyrocketed.
There were 4,793 arrests in total in England and Wales last season, compared with 4,035 the previous year.
Of those, 3,695 arrests were made at league matches – the highest figure since the 1994/1995 campaign.
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Ipswich Town saw 26 supporters arrested last season, compared to 17 in the 2001/2002 season.
The majority of the arrests were for public disorder and alcohol offences but worryingly, there were also three arrests made for racist chanting – the fourth highest total in Division One.
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But the Blues, who also had seven supporters banned last year, were way behind the league leaders Nottingham Forest, who had 120 fans arrested.
Meanwhile, Colchester United had eight supporters arrested last season, compared to a total of just three the previous year.
But, although they had four fans banned, the U's were a long way short of Cardiff City, the arrest leaders in Division Two with 102.
Marie Partner, U's Chief Executive, welcomed the figures. She said: "It is pleasing to read that Colchester United has one of the best records in crowd safety with a very minimal amount of hooliganism.
"Over the last three or four seasons, we have invested more resources into the training of a high number of stewards to the accepted qualification recognised by the local police.
"We have always had a close working relationship with the police and are very supportive of our stewards and the police in clamping down on those who are in the minority of causing problems at football matches.
"We want to make sure these people are not made welcome at Layer Road and are happy to enforce and endorse any banning orders made in this respect."
Home Office minister Hazel Blears announced £5 million over three years yesterday to fund more police operations against "known and emerging" hooligans.
She said: "The increase in the number of football-related offences reflects a tough policing response to a lingering hooliganism problem.
"Football disorder has been significantly reduced in recent decades, but a minority of troublemakers continue to threaten our national game.
"Good co-operation between government, police and football authorities and intelligence-based operations have ensured that the majority of domestic and international games remained trouble free, with just 4,793 arrests out of more than 33 million attendances - an average of less than two arrests per game.
"We are determined to work with police, fans and football authorities to stamp out violence.
"The extra funding I am making available to forces will help them gather evidence and obtain banning orders against known and emerging troublemakers."