New figures show Liverpool matches one of the worst for arrests

Football-related arrests in England and Wales reached an eight-year high during the 2021/22 season, Ho

Football-related arrests reached an eight-year high of 2,198 in the 2021/22 season across England and Wales, up 59% compared with the last pre-Covid season of 2018/19.

The new figures published by the Home Office show nearly two-thirds (64%; 1,404) of the arrests occurred inside the ground.

Liverpool matches were amongst those with the highest numbers of arrests, ranked seventh, with 48.

Police officers patrol on their horses prior to the arrival of the Liverpool's team bus prior to the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield in Liverpool,

The figures also show there were 1,308 people with Football Banning Orders (FBOs) at the end of the 2021-22 season, including 516 new orders issued, preventing individuals from attending games, including the World Cup in Qatar.

Earlier this year, a 54-year old Liverpool fan was issued a three-year Football Banning Order for making racist comments during the derby against Everton at Goodison Park.

Robert Owen, of Fernbank Drive, Netherton, was was also ordered to pay a £300 fine and court costs after he directed a slur towards an Everton player during the game.

What are football-related arrests?

The figures include arrests at all regulated international and domestic football matches involving English and Welsh clubs and the national teams, playing in the UK and overseas.

Football related offences include violent disorder, public disorder, throwing missiles, racist and indecent chanting, pitch incursion, alcohol and drug offenses, ticket touting, possession of an offensive weapon, possession of pyrotechnics, breach of banning order and criminal damages.

The top ten highest arrests:

Image: Home Office/Mark Hall

Liverpool arrests

Forty-eight supporters were arrested at Liverpool matches, the highest number shown by the figures dating back to 2014.

Six supporters were arrested for racist and indecent chanting at Liverpool matches.

The most common offences were public disorder, with 32 arrests and violent disorder, with 24 arrests.

Banning orders

New banning orders for Liverpool supporters were fairly low, at the lowest since the 2017-18 season - excluding 2020/21 due to Covid-19.

Nine supporters received banning orders, drastically lower than Everton’s 26.

Image: Home Office/Mark Hall

What has been said?

NPCC Lead for Football Policing, Chief Constable Mark Roberts said:

“Disorder is a problem that has not gone away, and throughout the whole of last season we saw an increase in crime at football matches across the country - from the Premier League right down to the National League.

“Following constructive talks with the Premier League, EFL and FA we are keen to support our partners in delivering their proposals – which include the introduction of stadium bans for people who enter the pitch, as well as those who use pyrotechnics.

“We are also pleased that the Government is adding Class A drugs offences to the banning order legislation. This will provide police with another option to tackle criminal and anti-social behaviour by those who are under the influence of drugs.

“Anyone who commits a criminal offence either outside or inside a football ground can expect to face the consequences of their actions. The increase in arrests demonstrates that the police are taking positive action, working closely with the CPS. We collectively need to make football a safe environment for the overwhelming majority of supporters who just want to enjoy the game.”

Liverpool FC’s policy on anti-social behaviour

Prior to the FA Cup Final at the end of the 2021/22 season, LFC reiterated their stance on anti-social behaviour, stating:

‘In recent months, we have seen a rise in pyrotechnics, flares and smoke devices being brought to stadiums around the country.

‘It is important to highlight that these items are not only illegal inside a football stadium, but these prohibited items can also cause great harm to people. If you are found to be in possession of a pyrotechnic device, you could face arrest.

‘LFC is committed to eradicating all forms of abuse and discrimination, both online and in-stadia through its Red Together programme.

‘LFC would like to remind fans of their responsibility to do the right thing and be aware of the potential consequences. Racist, homophobic, hateful, and discriminatory chanting is a hate crime and perpetrators can face prosecution.

‘Any LFC fan who is proven to have behaved in an abusive or discriminatory way, either online or in-person, will face action via LFC’s sanctions process.’