Football crime on the rise: West Ham the worst as alarming figures show a spike in offenders

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An an epidemic of pitch invasionsmissile throwing, flares and hate crimes last season saw football-related arrests rise to their worst level in eight years.

Police arrested a total of 2,198 people in the first full crackdown since the coronavirus pandemic, a 59 percent increase on 2018-19 and the most since 2013-14.

West Ham United fans were the worst offenders with 95 arrests, followed by Manchester City (76), Manchester United (72), Leicester City (59) and Everton (58).

The alarming figures, released by the Home Office on Thursday, were helped by a 127 per cent rise in pitch break-ins (441) compared to three years earlier, a 118 per cent rise in the possession of pyrotechnics (729), a 99 per cent rise in crime from enmity (384) and an 86% increase in projectile throwing.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Policing Council’s head of football policing, said: “The publication of these statistics highlights that the rise in disorder we saw midway through the 2021/22 season has continued and cannot be simply dismissed. to fans returning to stadiums after closing time.

“Disruption is a problem that has not gone away and throughout last season we saw an increase in crime at football matches across the country – from the Premier League right through to the National League.

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