A new generation of hooligans on the rise warn police chiefs
Fri 8th Oct 2010 | Legal
A new generation of football hooligans are on the rise senior police chiefs are warning after incidents involving young people almost trebled as revealed by the BBC.
Association of Chief Police Officers figures seen by BBC Radio 5 live show there were 103 incidents last season, up from 38 in 2007.
It’s understood that around 290 teenagers across the UK are banned from football grounds but overall figures for hooliganism remain relatively low.
Police chiefs are concerned however by the sudden increase in violence around football grounds involving teenagers. While the violence is not at the levels of the 1970s and 1980s, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) says it is seeing disturbing evidence of younger fans becoming involved.
According to the figures almost half (47%) of incidents of disorder last season in England, Wales and Northern Ireland involved youths.
Speaking to the BBC, Andy Holt, on behalf of Acpo on football policing, said: "If they're engaging in football-related disorder at an earlier age then we're going to be stuck with that sort of behaviour potentially for some while.
"So it is something that we are acutely aware of. People are coming through and engaging in football disorder who perhaps weren't around in the heyday of football violence 15-20 years ago.
"So it is a worrying trend that the younger element are starting to pick up on this sort of behaviour."
Unlike in the 70’s and 80’s the majority of the trouble is happening away from football grounds. However it is noted that the trouble is affecting the lower leagues where there are fewer resources to control matches. With fewer police and stewards it becomes difficult to stop trouble from occurring and with banning orders and an increase in policing in the higher leagues the trouble is spreading away from the grounds into the surrounding areas.
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