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City Hall calls on football clubs to help cover soaring police costs

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City Hall has urged football clubs to contribute to the cost of policing London football matches after it was revealed that taxpayers stumped up £5.24m last season.

Although the total cost has actually decreased from the previous season's £6.7m, the percentage reimbursed to the Metropolitan Police increased by just 2.7%.

Labour assembly member Andrew Dismore claims that this amount would be enough to fund 95 extra police officers in the capital, at a time when austerity measures have put additional pressure on the Met, forcing the ratio of police officers to citizens down to its lowest level in two decades.

Last year there were just 3.3 officers per 1,000 people, down from 4.1 officers in 2010.

Read more: Make London clubs foot £5m police bill, Sadiq Khan told

Tottenham Hotspur was the expensive Premier League club to police during the 2017/18 season, with costs totalling £1.2m – yet only £61,935 was paid back to the Metropolitan Police.

Arsenal meanwhile cost £890,455, and handed back £123,877 to the police.

Dismore said: "With police numbers falling to their lowest in 20 years, the money that these clubs have withheld from the Met could be used to fund almost 100 desperately needed officers. However, consistent and widespread calls for urgent change have so far been met with indifference from the Home Office.

“While there needs to be drastic change in the law on the issue of matchday policing costs, football clubs have a moral obligation to their community to come forward and properly pay their way to ensure that vital Met funding is not unnecessarily diverted."

Read more: West Ham accused of dodging its policing costs

In his response to Dismore's question, mayor Sadiq Khan said: "I continue to call on the government to change the law so that wealthy clubs are required to contribute to the costs of policing football, to help provide the Met police with the resources necessary to keep Londoners safe."

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