Stewards should not replace police officers at football stadiums, says Premier League director of policy
Last Updated: 12/03/19 12:47pm
The Premier League's director of policy, Bill Bush, believes momentum towards replacing police officers with stewards inside football stadiums up and down the country must be halted.
Bush says the idea of trading police officers for stewards - who have no powers of arrest - will only hamper efforts to curb the growing concerns over fan behaviour.
"There is something iconic and symbolically important about the police uniform in the ground which, however many stewards you deploy, however well you train them, it's never going to have that same effect," said Bush.
His thoughts came as a number of Premier League teams work with the UK Football Policing Unit in a trial aimed at deterring potential trouble-makers by using an increased police presence for certain high profile matches.
Bush reiterated that Premier League clubs were increasingly frustrated by the leniency shown by the justice system in football-related cases, with courts feeling that 'people let off steam at football' and that 'it's only football'.
"If it was in a tea-room of a country hotel and people behaved like that then the courts would take a different view," he added.
His comments come after Jack Grealish was attacked by a spectator during Sunday's Second City derby at St Andrew's, and another spectator ran onto the pitch and confronted Chris Smalling at the Emirates Stadium during Arsenal's game against Manchester United later in the day.