West Ham are the worst as alarming figures show a rise in offenders

West Ham are the worst as alarming figures show a rise in offenders

Goodison Park pitch invasion - Football crime on the rise: New statistics show how end-of-season invasions led to a spike - GETTY IMAGES

Goodison Park pitch invasion – Football crime on the rise: New statistics show how end-of-season invasions led to a spike – GETTY IMAGES

An epidemic of pitch invasions, rocket throwing, flares and hate crimes saw football-related arrests rise 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, up 59 per cent from 2018-19 and the most since 2013-14.

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

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

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, head of the national police force for football policing, said: “The release of these statistics highlights that the rise in disorder we saw midway through the 2021/22 season has continued and cannot simply be put down. to fans returning to stadiums after lockdown.

– Disorder 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 down to the National League.

“After constructive talks with the Premier League, EFL [English Football League] to get [Football Association] we are keen to support our partners in delivering their proposals – including introducing stadium bans for people entering the pitch as well as those using pyrotechnics. The statistics released today show a worrying increase in these crimes, both of which are extremely dangerous for players, staff and other fans alike. As well as being banned, anyone who commits these offenses should also expect to be prosecuted by the police.

“We know that the use of drugs, along with alcohol, is a key factor leading to disorderly behavior and we are pleased that the Government is adding Class A drug offenses to the Prohibition Act. This will give the police another option to tackle criminal and antisocial behavior by those under the influence of drugs.

“Anyone who commits a criminal offense either outside or inside a football pitch can expect to face the consequences of their actions. The increase in arrests and football bans shows that the police are taking positive action to tackle the problems, working closely with the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service]. We must collectively make football a safe environment for the overwhelming majority of supporters who just want to enjoy the game.

“At the same time, forces have a wide range of diversionary activities to tackle the growing number of young fans engaging in inappropriate behavior and we will only achieve our collective aim by everyone working together and putting those fans who are genuine supporters of their clubs first. “

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