Legislation related to Policing

Responsibility for the safety of spectators lies at all times with ground management.

However, at certain sports grounds and for certain matches or events the presence of the police may be required to maintain public order and prevent the commission of offences. Police officers are not present to overcome inadequacies in safety management.

What does the Safety of Sports Grounds Act say?

Section 2 (2A) of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 states that:

“No condition of a safety certificate shall require the provision of the services at the ground of any member of a police force unless the extent of the provision is reserved for the determination of the chief officer of police of the force.”

What does the Police Act say?

Section 25 of the Police Act 1996 states that:

“The chief officer of police of a police force may provide, at the request of any person, special police services at any premises or in any locality in the police area for which the force is maintained, subject to the payment to the police authority of charges on such scales as may be determined by that authority”.

For what can the police charge?

Home Office Circular 34/2000 states (in paragraph 13.4) that:

“The aim in principle should be to recover the full cost of:

  • those police officers who are deployed at football matches on the private property of the football club; and
  • where officers are posted outside the ground for part of their tour of duty and inside it for the remainder, the full cost of their time spent inside should also be recovered”.

 

Tools and resources

Guide to Safety Certification

This guidance updates and supersedes the guidance on safety certification issued by the Football Licensing Authority (FLA) in 2001.

A Wider Definition of Safety – Local Authority Checklist

This document contains a series of questions that certifying authorities may wish to consider to check their progress in ensuring that the wider understanding of safety has been adopted by sports grounds to whom they issue safety certificates under the 1975 and 1987 Acts.

Preventing Crowd Disorder and Anti-Social Behaviour

Guidance is available from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) on preventing crowd disorder and anti-social behaviour at sports grounds.

Safety Certificate Checklist

This checklist may be helpful for certifying authorities when checking safety certificates for possible changes as a result of the wider understanding of safety

Responses to the consultation on a Wider Definition of Safety

In February 2017, the SGSA issued a consultation that sought the views of stakeholders on the implications of a review of the term ‘safety’ in the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975. The responses to this consultation can be downloaded here.

Guidance

What is the Statement of Intent?

If there is to be a police presence in or at the sports ground, management should discuss with the police the division of responsibilities and functions between the two parties; for example, whether particular tasks are to be undertaken by stewards or by police officers, and who will assume responsibility in particular circumstances. The outcome of these discussions should be recorded in a written and signed statement of intent.

Support for Local Authorities – Policies and Procedures

To assist local authorities develop appropriate policies and procedures, or to review existing ones, the SGSA has produced guidance which explains what should be included in an authority’s policies and procedures for the issue and review of a safety certificate, for the monitoring of compliance with the terms and conditions of a safety certificate and for the enforcement of the 1975 and 1987 Acts.

Safety for all at sports grounds

This guidance note describes the interactions between the different legislation in this area and the impacts on the safety management of a sports ground thereby protecting all those present, including spectators, staff, contractors and participants.