A worrying increase in disorder at football games has led to the police and fans needing to work together to create a better and safer environment.
South Yorkshire Police Football Supporters Independent Advisory Group (IAG) was created to allow football supporters to work alongside the police to create a better atmosphere.
The IAG twitter page allows supporters to raise issues they believe to be important which will be discussed in the meetings such as the ability to police big fixtures.
Previous poor treatment of fans by police including the Steel City Derby at Hillsborough, where more than 60 people complained, demonstrated the need for cooperation between the police and fans.
Taylor Moss, 19, a Business student of the University of Sheffield said: “I’ve always found it frustrating when fans act up during a game. It makes the team look bad when it’s obviously not a reflection of them, it’s just a few idiots who can’t control themselves.
“When the police get involved the situation often gets worse. They always react like it’s all the fans that have been causing trouble rather than just a few and they treat us like animals.
“Obviously that makes us angry, then, as you’d expect more people act up.”
In the 2016/17 season there was a 45 per cent increase in disorder within stadiums. This included 154 reports of attacks on stadia staff. In the 2017/ 2018 season there were 151 reported hate crimes which is an 101% increase from the previous year.
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts said: “In the current climate of police funding, we simply can’t afford to continue subsiding football matches, and every officer deployed, or pound spent on policing games, is money and time taken away from neighbourhood policing or supporting vulnerable people.
Together with the 45 per cent increase in disorder being seen within stadiums themselves and the national reduction of 20,000 police officers compared to 2010, this is simply not sustainable.”
South Yorkshire Police Football Supporters Independent Advisory Group formed earlier this year to help prevent disorder.
James Quick, 19, a Psychology student at the University of Sheffield said: “I ran across the pitch during a varsity game. I didn’t really think much of it at the time, I was just trying to win a bet.
“The staff spoke to me afterwards and told me how what I did can ruin the game for everyone else and the how it is unfair to football players who have trained hard to be able to play.”