Football crime on the rise: West Ham United worst as alarming numbers show spike in offenders

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An epidemic of field invasions, rocket-throwing, flares and hate crimes saw football-related arrests rise to the highest level in eight years last season.

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

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

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The alarming numbers, released Thursday by the Department of the Interior, were compounded by a 127 percent increase in the number of pitch invasions (441) compared to three years earlier, a 118 percent increase in fireworks possession (729). ), a 99 percent increase in hate crimes (384) and an 86 percent increase in rocket-throwing.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, head of the National Police Chief Council for Football Police, said: “The publication of these statistics underlines that the increase in disorder we saw midway through the 2021/22 season has continued and cannot simply be put down. for fans returning to the stadiums after the lockdown.

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“Disorder is a problem that hasn’t gone away, and all through last season we saw an increase in crime at football matches across the country – from the Premier League to the National League.

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