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Critically examining Special Police Service (SPS) arrangements for football policing in England and Wales

The study is designed to look at the issue of the cost recovery process for policing football.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Richard Hester
Police region
South West
Level of research
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

The study is designed to look at the issue of the cost recovery process for policing football, and gain an understanding of how this issue is being managed by police forces and football clubs in England and Wales.

The aim of the study is to critically examine the Special Police Services (SPS) arrangements for policing football events in England and Wales in order to develop models of equitable best practice.


  1. To critically review current SPS policy for policing football events.

  2. To critically assess the suitability of current SPS practices, evaluating views from key police and football club practitioners that are engaged in the SPS process.

  3. To develop models of equitable best practice for SPS arrangements in England and Wales.

Research methodology

Interviews with:

  • football club safety officers
  • dedicated football officers within the police service
  • organisations with an interest in football policing

So far 13 interviews have been conducted. These will be thematically analysed.

FOI requests will be submitted to police forces in England & Wales to provide descriptive data on the costs of policing football as well as costs recovered from football clubs through SPS.

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