Football Stadium Use

Commercial in Confidence

Safer Detention Units (SDU) in the Football Environment fact sheet

  • During the 2013-14 season, the total number arrests by Home Office police forces in connection with regulated international and domestic football matches involving teams from, or representing, England and Wales was 2,273.
  • Under FA Rules it is a clubs responsibility to take appropriate measures in order to provide an environment that is safe as reasonably practicable for spectators, players and match officials and to encourage good conduct by the supporters of both teams.
  • The cost to clubs for policing football matches during 2012/13
    • safer detention unitArsenal--£902,147.54
    • Chelsea--£883,079.88
    • Fulham--£303,794.22
    • QPR--£442,390.20
    • Tottenham--£698.661.84
    • West Ham United - £704,350.14[1]
  • In 2014 the policing bill for Arsenal rose to £985,660
  • The detention and arrest of spectators in and around the ground is a staff intensive and time consuming activity. When subjects are arrested valuable police resources that are paid for by the club, are lost when prisoners are taken many miles to police stations and the officers are abstracted for the remainder of the operation.
  • An SDU is a small holding cell equipped with climate control, CCTV, audio and an intercom. It is designed to legally hold suspects for up to 6 hours and negate the need to take them to a police station.
  • The proposed SDU is an alternative to taking prisoners off site to long term detention facilities.
  • The SDU is a flat packed modular construction format that can be installed easily in existing space within the ground. This could be in or near to the current police room or at any location suitable for easy access.
  • The use of the SDU will keep officers at the ground in the vast majority of cases.
  • Officers and stewards return to the terraces quickly and do not need to leave the ground.
  • The use of the SDU will provide an increased deterrent once disruptive spectators become aware of its use.
  • Tests with the Metropolitan Police confirm the use of short term holding facilities can improve performance of prisoner processing by over 60%.
  • The SDU and a combination of the SDUs as a Short Term Holding Facility (STHF), has been designed to meet exacting requirements.
  • Extensive testing of the SDU has taken place. The design and construction meets British (BS) and European (CE) standards. The unit is designed in line with the Home Office Safer Buildings Design Guide.
  • The SDU is 1.2m x 1.5m x 2.25m.

The financial case justification for installation of the SDU is a 12 month efficiency RTO

  • Reduction of Football Club policing costs
  • Streamlining the ejection and arrest process at the same time effectively managing risk
  • Improved environment for club officials and spectators alike


For more information please contact:

Bernie Gravett, Managing Director

Mobile: 07748 932345.                 Email:

Tim Ashley Sparks, Commercial Director

Mobile: 07795 377795.                 Email:


[1] Source MPS Freedom of Information Act request 2014.