The Home Office has revealed a drop of 10 per cent in football-related arrests for the 2018/19 season compared to the previous campaign, though hate crimes at matches have risen by 47 per cent.
The latest figures published on Thursday morning showed there were 1,381 football-related arrests in England and Wales last year.
Of the 1,381 arrests under Schedule 1 of the Football Spectators Act 1989, the most common types of offence were public disorder (38 per cent) and violent disorder (19 per cent).
The number of new football banning orders in force during 2018/19 increased by 19 per cent compared to the previous season.
Just under a third (31 per cent) of the total banning orders in force at August 1, 2019 were issued during the 2018/19 campaign, which for the purposes of the data covered the period August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019.
There were 1,771 football banning orders in force on August 1, 2019, a decrease of three per cent compared to the same date in 2018, when 1,822 were in force.
The duration of a banning order can range from a minimum of three years up to a maximum of 10 years.
Stoke supporters were issued the highest number of new banning orders during the 2018/19 season with 46.
MOST READ IN FOOTBALL
Their Staffordshire neighbours Port Vale were second on the list with 31.
Newcastle have the most banning orders in force overall at 71, eight fewer than in the previous season.
The statistics are supplied by the 43 police forces in England and Wales and British Transport Police (BTP) to the United Kingdom Football Policing Unit (UKFPU).
In addition to the 1,381 football-related arrests, a further 155 were made by BTP and there were 347 ‘other’ arrests at football matches which did not fall under Schedule 1 of the Football Spectators Act.
Supporters of Premier League sides Sheffield United (41), Manchester City (39) and Manchester United (36) were fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in the football-related arrests statistics for 2018/19.
The Championship side explained they are working to help rid the game of anti-social behaviour
“The latest Home Office statistics do not make for pleasant reading, but to provide some context, 62 of the 80 arrests were as a result of anti-social behaviour that occurred both during and after the Checkatrade Trophy fixture against Port Vale in December 2018.
“Of the other 18 arrests, only five of those were made at home fixtures at the bet365 Stadium where, working in partnership with the police and authorities, we are continuing to do everything we can to try and eradicate anti-social behaviour from football.”
However, the number of matches where a hate crime was reported increased from 131 to 193 matches.
Of the 193 games, 79 per cent of the reported hate crime incidents related to race.
The Home Office report stated that some of the increase was likely due to improvements in recording.
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chief’s Council Football Policing Lead said: “Home Office statistics show football disorder remains at concerning levels – over the past two seasons, incidents reported are at more than 1,000 fixtures, and worryingly, this is becoming the new normality.
“Interestingly, higher levels of disorder are being seen in the lower leagues, and this could be attributed to the fact there is often a reduced police presence.
“With the absence of police officers to witness and respond, we are reliant on supporters and other agencies to report matters to us, so there could be a lot that goes unreported. There is also a reluctance from the leagues to share safety officer’s reports with us at a national level.
“Notably there are a greater number of arrests made in the lower leagues, despite lower crowds, with four out of the five clubs with the most arrests from the Championship.
“This is also reflected in the fact that Grimsby Town, a League Two club, has the second-highest number of banning orders, rising from 50 to 61 over the past two seasons.
“A lower number of arrests in the Premier League is likely related to the fact these clubs have greater security measures in place, and a police presence at matches.”
DCC Roberts added: “Hate crime is also on the rise, and this reflects some of the high profile incidents reported over the past season.
“The 28 per cent increase in arrests by British Transport Police shows the levels of disorder away from the stadiums.
“We are committed to working with the leagues and clubs to tackle these issues but that will take a sustained focus on security from all concerned.”