Introduction by Matthew Ellis, Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire:
Football policing has never been an exact science and the police have to make difficult judgements when assessing football intelligence, the potential risk of disorder and the numbers of officers required to ensure safety for everyone.
At the same time, some non-Premiership football clubs work within very tight budgets and face financial pressures on a weekly basis which means they need to keep policing costs for fixtures as low as possible.
It was clear to me that an independent review in this area of policing would provide clarity on the effectiveness or otherwise of current arrangements and provide a future model for how things could be done in Staffordshire, while accounting for safety and getting best value for clubs and taxpayers.
Before I announced this review would take place, I had already introduced new formal audit and appeal arrangements between local clubs and Staffordshire Police as part of improving rigour and transparency in deciding on the level and costs of policing football matches.
This independent review will provide a basis to improve consistency and provide Staffordshire Police and football clubs with the learning and development opportunities to improve policing football across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
This report, which also highlights some notable success in policing football matches in Stoke-on-Trent, provides information that may benefit police services in other parts of the UK and at the very least stimulate debate around the policing of football matches.
Finally, I would like to thank the clubs and police officers that took part in this independent review as well as thank the report’s author, Professor Clifford Stott.
For more information about the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Staffordshire, go to: www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk