London’s Premier League clubs paid a fraction of the policing costs incurred by their Manchester rivals last season.
The five teams under the Metropolitan Police’s jurisdiction — Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United — were charged a combined £178,047 for policing the areas inside and immediately outside stadiums controlled by the clubs in the 2015-16 campaign.
By contrast, Manchester City had the biggest policing bill, paying Greater Manchester Police £944,195.01 over the same period, with city rivals United second out of the 20 clubs with a charge of £925,126.61.
A Freedom of Information request was made by the Press Association to all 12 police forces which had responsibility for at least one Premier League club during the 2015-16 season to disclose the amount charged to those clubs for policing over that period. The forces were also asked to disclose the risk categories associated to each fixture played by those clubs.
Chelsea paid the most of the London clubs but the total charge from the Met to the club was just £94,388, just under 10 times the amount paid by Manchester City. Tottenham paid £38,568, Arsenal paid £32,536, West Ham paid £12,555 and Palace paid nothing at all because there was no police presence at all at their matches at Selhurst Park.
The difference between Chelsea’s and Manchester City’s season costs is almost £850,000, which equates to just under four weeks’ wages for City’s star striker Sergio Aguero at a reported £220,000 per week.
A spokesperson for the Met Police said that their lower costs were due to a decision to reduce police presence inside stadia.
“We don’t police inside the stadium and haven’t for a number of years,” the spokesperson said. “We’re there to prevent crime and disorder. The Met’s Football Unit does look at the intelligence packages on each game but as a rule we don’t police inside.
“What we are able to charge for is what [the clubs] actually own. So where [officers are stationed] on the public highway, we can’t charge. For example, at Arsenal there’s a road called Drayton Park Avenue in the lead-up to the [Emirates] Stadium, and that’s a public highway, so policing that area could not be charged for. When you get onto the concourse — anywhere where the land is owned, controlled or occupied by the club — they can charge.
“We’re not there inside the stadium to show people to their seats and so on, that’s down to the stewards. Our role is around crime and disorder. We will have a presence outside. If there are problems — or intelligence to suggest there will be problems — then we will police inside, but as a general rule we withdrew from that two or three years ago.”
Greater Manchester Police, by contrast, take a different approach and said the increased cost when compared to London was purely down to the higher police presence in the grounds and immediately outside them.
The Merseyside clubs were third and fourth in terms of police charging. Liverpool paid £544,550.89 to police 31 matches at Anfield while Everton paid £396,088.66 to police 24 games at Goodison Park.
There were six games classified Category C (Increased Risk) — the highest risk category — during the 2015-16 season.
These were the Manchester derby at the Etihad on March 19, Liverpool versus Manchester United at Anfield on Jan. 17; the Leicester versus Everton game on the final day of the season in May when the Foxes were presented with the Premier League trophy; the north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal at White Hart Lane in March; the West Ham versus Spurs match on March 2 and the Crystal Palace-Charlton Capital One Cup tie on Sept. 23.