430,000 cost of policing football matches in Tayside

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Football fan groups are calling for policing to be scrapped at low-level matches after Tayside clubs forked out over 400,000 for their services in just two seasons.

Figures released by Police Scotland have revealed the force billed Dundee FC, Dundee United, St Johnstone, Arbroath, Forfar Athletic, Montrose and Brechin City 430,960.47 for their services during seasons 2012/13 and 2013/14. Dundee United were charged 99,918 in 2012/13 and another 70,252.73 last season, while Dundee FC spent 78,999.30 for policing in 2012/13 and another 32,838.26 when they were relegated to the championship. St Johnstone paid out 54,159.30 and 55,296.18 respectively.

The highest fee paid for one match was 12,322.80 when Dundee lost 2-0 to Celtic on Boxing Day 2012 a match marred by drunken behaviour from Celtic fans. On the other hand, Dundee United had to pay out 2,452.14 for a fixture against Partick Thistle last season that attracted just 3,778 fans.

Now fans groups are calling for policing to be scrapped when playing teams with small travelling supports, such as Ross County, Partick Thistle and St Mirren.

Andy Crichton, of Dundee United’s Arab Travel Supporters Club, said: “Football has changed a lot over the years and there are more women and kids at the games. Fair enough, you need the police at the big games, but not all of them.”

Figures also released show that alcohol has been seized by police on just four occasions at Dundee and Dundee United matches in the last two years. And there have only been six alcohol-related arrests at Dens Park and Tannadice fixtures.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Policing commanders work closely with clubs to ensure the officers deployed are proportionate to the football matches concerned. This is done in full consultation and agreement with the clubs themselves.”