A freedom of information request from OVF to Staffordshire Police has revealed surprising policing levels for games at Vale Park.
According to a police response, the number of officers present at Vale’s game against Doncaster Rovers was almost double that for the game against Millwall – one that many fans would consider to be of higher risk.
In fact, Government figures (see below) show that Millwall arrests at away games were nearly double those of Doncaster Rovers.
The police figures for the games were:
- Doncaster Rovers (22nd August) – 70 officers, no arrests
- Millwall (15th September) – 36 officers, no arrests
- Shrewsbury Town (31st October) – 43 officers, one arrest
I am sure many Vale supporters would welcome more transparency and engagement with the police…
Such high numbers of police on duty could account for the low numbers of arrests but intense policing of fixtures does increase the costs for Port Vale FC.
Following the Doncaster game, Vale chairman Norman Smurthwaite blasted police intelligence as “embarrassing” and the club has been involved in a long-standing dispute over what it sees as high policing costs for Vale matches.
Prior to the Doncaster game, a club statement from Vale commented that “regrettably due to the powers that the police hold, certain concessions have had to be agreed.” The statement said that those concessions included the erection of a fence across the Hamil Road car-park, the closure of the club pub (Tommy Cheadle’s) to home fans and the police changing the Doncaster game from a “low-risk” to a “high-risk” fixture.
Commenting on these figures, Amanda Jacks of the Football Supporters Federation told OVF: “I am sure many Vale supporters would welcome more transparency and engagement with the police.
“For example, if they invited fans groups to pre-match meetings they could use the opportunity to explain the numbers and the policing operation and give supporters the opportunity to have meaningful input into the planning.
“Post match meetings are helpful too – both to discuss both the positives and negatives of the policing operation and its impact on fans’ behaviour.”
Arrests at away matches
Figures for the 2014-15 season
- Doncaster Rovers: 15
- Millwall: 29
- Shrewsbury Town: 2
(Port Vale had six arrests at away matches in 2014-15)
Source: HM Government