Football fans could start being tested for drugs if they’re arrested for disorderly behaviour.
The move follows a rise in cocaine-fuelled violence at matches, something Chief Constable Richard Lewis, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on drugs, wants to crack down on.
New proposals would see football fans who use Class A drugs being banned from all grounds for five years.
According to The Telegraph, Lewis expressed his concern to the Home Affairs Committee that evidence showed cocaine use among football fans was on the rise.
The constable suggested this could lead to a ‘potentially problematic cocktail of drug-induced euphoria and the highly emotionally charged atmosphere of games’.
Lewis explained: “We are seeing increased use of cocaine at football matches. We would like to increase drug testing on arrest for those arrested for football-related disorder.”
Lewis added that drug testing would mean culprits can be identified by police and handed drug treatment orders, but it would also help police achieve an understanding of the scale of the problem.
Aside from a game ban, the new proposals could see football fans facing six months behind bars as well as having their passports confiscated if their team is playing abroad.
Back in January, The Telegraph reported on a surge in ‘cocaine-fuelled violence’ at football matches, noting that Britain’s head of football policing said cocaine use should be punished by a ban from all games.
The paper also referred to figures that showed football-related arrests had risen by almost 50 percent during the first half of the last season, and the vast majority were drug related.
Chief Constable Mark Roberts said at the time: “There are more incidents this year, it’s really worrying.”
He went on: “We are lobbying government - they are obviously amending relevant legislation to ensure that people can get a banning order for a hate crime online - and we would like to see it that you can also get a banning order for cocaine use or Class A drugs.
“People who are experienced, who work in football, and probably a lot of fans, know that cocaine use is very common at football. Cocaine use does fuel violence. We see it in the night-time economy; we see it in football.”
Roberts concluded: “Every experienced football commander would tell you that there have been issues with cocaine use for a long time.”
LADbible has approached the Met Police for comment.
The FA said in a statement: "The FA believes that illegal drugs or anti-social behaviour have no place in football, and supports any positive initiatives that could act as deterrents."