Powers of the police preventing violence at football matches

There are a number of different powers that the police have to prevent disorder and violence at football matches played within England and Wales and also abroad.

What powers do police have to prevent disorder and violence at football matches?

The Police and various authorities have the following powers to prevent disorder and violence at football matches:

  • Football banning orders
  • Section 27 of the Violent Crime and Reduction Act

Football Banning Order

What is a Football Banning Order?

Football banning orders were first introduced by the Football (Offences and Disorder) Act 1999 and are civil orders rather than a criminal sanction used as a preventative tactic to stop certain individuals being able to attend football matches both at home and abroad.

Would it be possible to bring a legal challenge against a Football Banning Orders?

Individuals may wish to bring a legal challenge against a football banning order as they feel that it is unfair to impose conditions on them not attending football matches. In some cases this can last for up to 10 years.

How will this challenge be brought?

When a football banning order is imposed on a specific individual they have a right to appeal. Any legal challenge brought against the order will thus be heard in the appeal.

On what grounds would a legal challenge be brought?

The main grounds on which a legal challenge may be brought is that the order has been unfairly imposed and that the individual concerned does not adhere to the requirements to have a football banning order imposed on them.

However, football banning orders will only be imposed if that individual has been suspected of football related violence or has in fact being convicted of football related violence.

If an individual has a conviction or there is evidence such as video evidence then it will be extremely difficult to show that the order would not have been imposed.

Would there be any other possibility of a challenge?

An individual who is the subject of a football banning order may wish to bring legal challenge regarding the duration of the football banning order.

On what grounds would this challenge be brought?

The grounds on which this challenge may be brought will relate to the individual claiming that the duration of the banning order is disproportionate to the offence committed. This again is a claim which is unlikely to succeed.

Why is this unlikely to succeed?

Football violence has been an extremely important issue prior to and since the creation of the Football (Offences and Disorder) Act with the need to eradicate it a huge issue. It is therefore unlikely that a decision taken to protect the individuals attending a football match will be decreased in favour of an individual who has been convicted or has clear evidence against them to show they are involved in violence and football matches.

Can an individual apply to have a football banning order terminated during the term of the order?

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For more information on:

  • Section 27 of the Violent Crime and Reduction Act 2006
  • What powers do the police have under Section 27?
  • Is this power open to potential abuse?
  • Can this be open to legal challenge?
  • What are the aims of the campaign?