£67 per fan: Taxpayers face huge bill for policing Leeds United games

Leeds United v Millwall, 2010: Police escort the Millwall fans into the ground. Picture By Simon Hulme
Leeds United v Millwall, 2010: Police escort the Millwall fans into the ground. Picture By Simon Hulme
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West Yorkshire Police faced costs of nearly a quarter of a million pounds when policing Leeds United games at Elland Road last season, new data has revealed.

Figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request show that the taxpayer was hit with a burden of £203,846.30 for policing home Leeds United matches over the course of the 2013/14 campaign.

Special Police Services, charged to Leeds United, added over £350,000 to the price, bringing the total to a huge £571,560.86 to police Elland Road during matchdays.

A further breakdown of the information also reveals which fans were the most expensive to handle.

The most expensive game was the clash against Sheffield Wednesday on August 17 2013, with £22,268.83 spent by the police on that game alone.

A total of 1062 away fans made the trip for the Yorkshire derby between the two Championship sides.

However, the tie against Millwall, which saw only 260 away fans make the trip from London to the game, was the second most expensive match to police.

The total cost incurred by West Yorkshire Police for that game was £17,402.83, meaning that the price of management per away fan at the tie was a staggering £67.

Travelling fans at that game were made to collect their tickets from a motorway service station, with the imposition of that safety feature likely increasing the outgoings.

It was certainly not due to the number of fans in attendance at the game, with the Millwall clash drawing in only 23,211 fans.

By comparison, the Huddersfield Town game, another Yorkshire derby, saw 31,103 home and away fans at Elland Road, yet the fee to the police was only £8,056.08.

The cheapest game, in terms of the cost of policing, was the midweek clash with Charlton Athletic. The bill for that match came to only £6,463.63.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom said: “Football matches swallow policing resources in a way that no other sport does. We recognise that the vast majority of people who go to football

matches are genuine fans that don’t need policing and could easily be looked after by stewards, as they are at many other sports.

“Unfortunately significant minorities of risk supporters who engage in football-related violence continue to plague football matches at most of the major clubs in the country.”