LEEDS United and West Yorkshire Police were today urged to work together to limit the fallout from the club’s High Court victory on matchday crowd control costs.
As reported in yesterday’s YEP, the police fear new charging arrangements for their work at United’s Elland Road ground could take a £1m chunk out of their budget each football season.
Police chiefs say Tuesday’s court ruling may also force them to pull dozens of officers off the beat for deployment on matchday at Elland Road.
Now local politicians have issued a call for the two parties to find a common sense way forward that does not damage policing in the county.
Stuart Andrew, Conservative MP for Pudsey, said the ramifications of the ruling were “very worrying”.
He went on: “I hope that a compromise can be reached between Leeds United and the police as it is clear that football matches cannot take place safely without their help.”
Coun Angela Gabriel, a Labour councillor whose Beeston and Holbeck ward includes Elland Road, said: “Leeds and the police need to get round a table as soon as they can.
“Residents in this area already suffer from the disruption caused by fans. To think policing levels in the county could suffer as well is just not right.”
United took West Yorkshire Police to court claiming they had been wrongly charged for matchday work by officers on car parks and streets around Elland Road for the last three seasons.
The Whites said the force should not have billed them for maintaining order or preventing obstructions on land that is neither club-owned nor controlled.
United’s case was backed by Mr Justice Eady at London’s High Court on Tuesday.
It is understood the police will now have to refund Leeds about £1m.
In addition, the West Yorkshire force will almost certainly have to charge United less for the policing of future games.
It says a financial shortfall would lead to some work at Elland Road being done by officers who would otherwise be out on routine patrol.