London is the world’s greatest city for watching the very British sport of football, with fans travelling across the nation and the globe to enjoy the London matchday experience.
London’s success – including that of its football clubs – depends on the public being reassured about their safety. Thanks to the years of hard work and partnership between the Metropolitan Police Service and football clubs, fans have confidence that matches in London will be safe for themselves and their families to attend.
That safety comes at a cost, and at a time when policing is so underfunded and stretched, Londoners are concerned that the Met recoups so little of that cost from clubs, including those in the wealthiest football league in the world.
Since 2010, the Met has had to save £700 million as a result of cuts in government funding. With demand and inflationary pressure continuing to surge, and with government funding failing to match that, a further £380 million must be saved by 2021/22. This situation is causing concern and could result in officer numbers dropping below 30,000 for the first time since 2003 – when the city’s population was nearly 1.5m lower than today.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has pledged that he is “doing everything he can to protect the Metropolitan Police Service.”
Having taken the decision to increase the income for policing from the Council Tax by the maximum amount possible, Mayor Khan has opened a consultation with the public on proposals to close a number of police front counters around London in order to save £10 million in annual running costs*. He has further stated that the case for greater police funding is being pressed to the highest levels of government.
The presence of football clubs in our city and the associated policing implications are not taken into account in any of the Government’s funding mechanisms for the Met, and, as such, no funding is received from the taxes imposed on football clubs. The Met has received less than 5% of its football-related costs back from clubs.
The London Mayor would like the public’s views on whether the Premier League will step up and make a bigger contribution to the policing of matchdays in London. This would allow a positive and visible demonstration of the League’s appreciation of the support that the Met police provide to the safety of fans and to all Londoners.
•The London Mayor’s consultation on public access to the police (including front counter service) is open until 6th October. To take part, go to:
London Mayor’s survey