HL Deb 28 October 1986 vol 481 cc605-6

2.48 p.m.

Lord Campbell of Croy

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are encouraging the police to use video recordings to identify hooligans at football matches.

The Minister of State, Home Office (The Earl of Caithness)

Yes, my Lords. The Government warmly welcome the use of video-recording equipment at grounds. It has a deterrent value, as well as helping to identify offenders.

Lord Campbell of Croy

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that very satisfactory reply. As the first application of this method appears to have been very successful, attracting the willing help of the public, including that of parents of possible offenders, are the Government satisfied that the equipment required is within the means of the police forces concerned?

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, it all depends on what equipment is required by those who own and run the football stadiums. If they want to go for an expensive system, I am sure that they will judge that on their budgets. But we believe that the basic system which the police find satisfactory is well within the capabilities of football clubs.

Lord Mellish

My Lords, is the Minister aware that the time is well overdue when credit should be given to the managements of many of the football clubs who suffer from the hooligan problem? I speak as the president of Millwall Football Club, and it is a fact that a tiny minority have made it impossible for decent people to go to watch football. The clubs themselves are very much aware of the problem and are prepared to co-operate with the police to do everything they can. It really is about time that somebody in high places said something decent about football clubs themselves.

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, indeed, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has said plenty of nice things about football clubs, and I should like to join her in saying I am glad that they have come along with the Government in this partnership to try to improve the situation.

Lord Gainford

My Lords, has my noble friend the Minister any details of arrests and convictions as a result of the use of these video systems?

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, I have not those figures, but I can tell the House that arrests at football league grounds at Divisions 1 and 2 matches fell by 47 per cent. last season.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, the Question is about the police use of video recordings. Can the noble Lord the Minister indicate what grants are made to the police to enable them to have these video recordings?

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, as I understand it, the Football Trust, which is a legally independent body established by a trust deed in 1979, can give a grant for police-approved equipment up to £25,000 and for non-police approved equipment up to £12,500.