I have just read an encouraging article on WiredGov. Apparently the Home Office has reported today that the amount of football-related arrests for violence fell slightly last season. WiredGov reports:

“With no arrests at 67 per cent of all international and domestic matches. Statistics on Football-Related Arrests and Banning Orders Season 2008-09′, published today, revealed there were 3,752 arrests last season – down two per cent on the year before. They also showed violent incidents were down five per cent, with just 354 fans arrested for violence out of the total attendance figure of 37 million at football matches last year.
In criminal cases the duration of banning orders is as follows:

  1. If a banning order is in addition to imprisonment (includes any form of detention) maximum is 10 years, minimum is six years.
  2. In any other case maximum is five years, minimum is three years.

I think it is encouraging this number is falling but 2% doesn’t feel like a lot of a reduction and they are still quite scary numbers. To me that sounds more of a negligible drop. As a keen football fan (Liverpool FC in case you were wondering) I have been to lots of matches but thankfully I haven’t really seen any violence at any them.

It seems our football fans have been travelling even through the credit crunch with more than 100,000 English fans travelling to games in Europe last year and encouragingly only 30 were arrested which seem like quite a small amount. All of that is very encouraging especially as some places can be very dangerous and intimidating to travel to as an away fan. Here are the latest stats from the 2008/09 football season:

  1. There were just 1.18 arrests per game;
  2. 3,752 arrests were made at domestic and international matches in England and Wales;
  3. The number of football banning orders on 10 November was 3,180 – representing 956 new orders imposed last year;
  4. 92% of individuals whose banning orders have expired are assessed by police as no longer posing a risk to football disorder.

I think the final point is the most interesting of all as almost everyone (92%) who have had banning orders, are no longer deemed to be posing a risk to football disorder – maybe this is a way to resolve conflicts before they happen. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will ever kick violence out of the game. I love football and will be taking my little lad when he is old enough. It would be nice to think that you can take your child and he won’t have to see any violence or hear any racist comments. Football in the UK has moved on but I still think it has some way to go.