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30th Jun 2022

Football fans face drugs tests on arrest to combat surge in cocaine-fuelled violence

Callum Boyle

Fans will be tested to battle the rise in violence

Football fans face being tested for drugs on arrest by the police following the rise in cocaine-fuelled football violence across the country.

Chief constable Richard Lewis, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on drugs, told MPs on Wednesday that he wanted to see more football fans tested in response to the increasing use of cocaine before, during and after games.

Speaking to the Home Affairs Committee, he said he had collated a growing body of evidence to prove that cocaine use was increasing amongst fans attending matches.

“We are seeing increased use of cocaine at football matches,” Lewis said.

“We would like to increase drug testing on arrest for those arrested for football-related disorder.”

Football fan drugs tests

Fans could be banned for five years if found guilty of taking Class A drugs

The chief constable believes that it will help the force to identify those committing the offence, as well as allow offenders to be placed on drug-treatment programmes. Lewis also thinks it will help police to establish just how widespread the problem is.

His response comes after Bury North Tory MP James Daly explained that he thinks the increase in drug use at football coincides with the recent issue of pitch invasions.

Charlie Doyle, assistant chief constable at the British Transport Police (BTP), supported his claim, revealing that the BTP have carried out “discrete” swab tests on trains to get an understanding of the problem.

The government is now drawing up plans to crackdown on the use of drugs, with one of the proposals being a five-year banning order from all grounds for those who take cocaine or other class A drugs.

They could also have their passports confiscated if their club team, or the England side, are playing abroad with exclusion zones also in place on match days. Anyone who breaches these could face a prison sentence of up to six months.

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