Football arrests 'down by 24%'

Police move in to control Birmingham City fans during Birmingham City v Burnley in St Andrews' Stadium. Picture date: 07/02/2009. Credit: PA

The number of arrests from football matches involving football teams from England and Wales has dropped by nearly a quarter, the Home Office has announced.

Arrests at international and domestic games in 2011/12 dropped by 24% to 2,363, 726 fewer than in the previous year.

It means that football-related arrests are "at an all time low," Policing and criminal justice minister Damian Green said.

There was no police presence at 53% of all matches last season, in which officers did not have to make an arrest at 74% of matches.

An average of less than 1 - or 0.72 - arrests were made per match, according to the Home Office figures that were gathered for the first time by the Office for National Statistics.

Tough banning orders have been used since 2000 to tackle football violence and disorder, which once scarred the sport and saw hooliganism termed "the English disease".

Banning orders, which are time-limited, dropped to 2,750 from 3,173.

There were 500 new banning orders imposed during last season.