'Fans look out for each other' - Norwich City supporters praised as national figures show decline in football-related arrests
PUBLISHED: 17:20 16 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:58 17 November 2018
Football-related arrests have steadily declined in the past decade, with Norwich City fans being lauded for their overall good behaviour.
The number of arrests in England and Wales have halved since 2011, with 2017/18 seeing a 6pc decrease compared with the previous season.
The figures from the Home Office also revealed there were 13 arrests at Carrow Road which was more than double the number of arrests during 2016/17.
But figures obtained by this newspaper through a Freedom of Information request to Norfolk police found 10 of these arrests were made in one match - on February 18 when the Canaries played Ipswich Town.
Five of these arrests were for criminal damage, three for public order offences, one for an alcohol offence and another for drunk and disorderly behaviour.
The specific cost for policing the match was £29,209, with the club being billed £28,559. For the entire season, it cost the club £187,954 to police their home matches - the equivalent of more than £8,000 per match.
Club director of operations Jon Leggett said there were around 300 stewards - of which around 95pc are employed in-house - that worked closely with police to keep fans safe.
The club has invested in better CCTV technology, with security for a typical match costing around £15,000 which includes an external search team.
“Safety for our supporters is of paramount importance,” Mr Leggett said. “We have a great working relationship with the police and stadium safety officer Andy Batley has managed to protect that and kept that for many years.
“The stewards are proactive in engaging with supporters and in making away fans feel welcome here.”
Mr Leggett praised the half a million fans that come through the stadium doors every year, stating: “99.99pc of fans come here to have a good time in a safe environment.”
On March 6, one man was arrested after he ran onto the pitch during the Nottingham Forest match and dropped his trousers.
Harry Abrey, of Sutton Coldfield, who was based at RAF Honington at the time, told police it had been a dare and was fined £120 when he appeared in Norwich Magistrates Court.
Two arrests were made during the Cardiff City match on April 4, for possession of a controlled substance and drunk and disorderly.
Football banning orders have also declined nationally since 2011, falling by 43pc, with Norwich City currently having two banning orders in place.
A survey conducted by the club at the end of last season found 99pc of fans felt safe inside Carrow Road.
Chairman of the Canaries Trust, Robin Sainty, said Carrow Road was one of the safest stadiums in the country.
“It’s different than in the 1970s when there was tribal warfare,” he said. “But the demographic has changed significantly and the fact that you no longer have alcohol near the pitch makes it a more civilised experience.”
He said fans self-policing played a huge part in keeping fans safe, especially in reporting homophobic abuse to security staff.
“We know they happen but fans look out for each other,” he added. “The stewards do a fantastic job.
“Football is generally very safe.”