Critically examining Special Police Service (SPS) arrangements for football policing in England and Wales

Research Institution / Organisation

University Of Gloucestershire

Principal Researcher

Richard Hester

Level of Research


Project Start Date

October 2019

Research Context

The study is designed to look at the issue of the cost recovery process for policing football, and gain an understanding of how this issue is being managed by police forces and football clubs in England and Wales.

The aim of the study is ‘to critically examine the Special Police Services (SPS) arrangements for policing football events in England and Wales in order to develop models of equitable best practice.


  1. To critically review current SPS policy for policing football events 

  2. To critically assess the suitability of current SPS practices, evaluating views from key police and football club practitioners that are engaged in the SPS process 

  3. To develop models of equitable best practice for SPS arrangements in England and Wales

Research Methodology

Interviews with football club safety officers, dedicated football officers within the police service and organisations with an interest in football policing. So far 13 interviews have been conducted. These will be thematically analysed.

FOI requests will be submitted to police forces in England & Wales to provide descriptive data on the costs of policing football as well as costs recovered from football clubs through SPS.

Interim reports and publications

​Not available

Date due for completion

October 2025
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