Last updated : 17 January 2003 By Editor
From Ananova:

Police officers may be withdrawn from outside London football grounds unless clubs pay for their time.

Management consultants have advised the Metropolitan Police it should force clubs into cancelling games if they won't pay up.

The Met has long demanded that clubs pay more towards its cost of policing football which stands at £7.4 million a year.

The report by Accenture said: "The Metropolitan Police Service may take the view that they are unwilling to sustain the current level of support to what is a private commercial event held on private premises, either in terms of staffing or the direct cost of barriers and signs.

"If the MPS were so minded and staff numbers were reduced, it would then be for a club to satisfy the local authority that their plan for the event was safe.

"This prospect could provide a stronger platform from which the MPS may 'negotiate' with clubs and thus recover a greater proportion of the costs of policing the event."

The Association of Chief Police Officers is negotiating with all clubs but the report said the Met might act unilaterally.