Record number of Arsenal supporters arrested last season

Police arrested more Arsenal supporters last season than in any of the previous eight years, new figures show.

By Andrew Dowdeswell, Data Reporter

The backs of several police officers at a football stadium
Photo: RADAR

Police arrested more Arsenal supporters last season than in any of the previous eight years, new figures show.

It comes as the number of arrests made at football games across England and Wales reached a nine-year high.

Offences include throwing missiles, violent and public disorder, alcohol-related offences, and ticket touting.

The National Police Chiefs Council said the police “are continuing to take positive action” to reduce a rising trend in disorder at football matches.

Home Office figures show police arrested 51 Arsenal FC supporters throughout the 2022-23 campaign – up from 41 the season before, and the highest recorded since records began in 2014-15.

Nationally, 2,264 football-related arrests were made, up from what was already an eight-year high of 2,198 in the previous campaign.

This included 200 arrests for the possession of class A drugs – which was added as an offence under the Football Spectators Act in November – and 101 arrests in England and Wales relating to the World Cup in Qatar.

For Arsenal fans, 12 arrests were made for possessing class A drugs.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, NPCC lead for football policing, said: “It is encouraging to see a slight reduction in the number of reported incidents, but we must put this into context and remember that the level of disorder we are seeing across football continues to be much higher than before the pandemic.

“Police are continuing to take positive action to reverse this trend by making a high number of arrests.”

In 2022-23, incidents were reported at 1,516 of 3,024 monitored matches (50%) – slightly lower than the 53% of matches in 2021-22.

Last season also saw the highest number of new banning orders handed out since the 2010-11 season.

Douglas Mackay, sports lead prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, said football banning orders are “one of the many tools available to the justice system” to help reduce disorder at football matches.

Mr Mackay added: “At the CPS, we play a crucial role in tackling these crimes and making our national game inclusive, and safe to watch and play in. There is no place for violent and hateful criminal acts in football, and incidents such as these have a significant negative impact on players, spectators, and the integrity of the game.

“The CPS is currently working with the police, football clubs, football authorities and charities seeking to stamp out this blight on football.”

A record 197 fans were arrested for throwing a missile across England and Wales – of them, nine were Arsenal supporters.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “It is so important for our communities that fans can go to watch their club play without fear for their safety. Hooligans are not true fans, and have no place in the game.

“With more people banned from football for their criminal acts and illegal drug taking being tackled, we will continue to make football safer for supporters up and down the country.”

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