Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Police match cost appeal success

JJB Stadium, Wigan
Police charged for officers inside and outside the JJB

Premier League football club Wigan Athletic has won a court battle over a 300,000 policing bill.

The Court of Appeal in London has upheld the club's complaint that Greater Manchester Police overcharged it for covering home match days.

Appeal judges ruled with a 2-1 majority that the club had been charged for special police services which it had not requested.

It means the club is entitled to a return of about 37,000.

It had originally claimed nearly 300,000.

Surrounding stadium

The policing charges relate to games in the 2003/04 and 2004/05 seasons.

The court heard that Wigan used to be charged for special policing services it requested inside its JJB stadium.

But then the police also demanded payment for the area surrounding the stadium.

The club was charged 226,184 in the 2003-04 season and 283,082 for 2004-05, compared with 61,058 in 2002-03.

High Court Chancellor Sir Andrew Morritt held that the special policing services at issue were not "requested" by the club within the meaning of the 1996 Police Act and the police were therefore not entitled to recover the cost.

Lady Justice Smith agreed, but Lord Justice Maurice Kay said he would have dismissed the club's appeal against the High Court decision.

Assistant Chief Constable Justine Curran, head of territorial policing for GMP, said: "We are disappointed with this ruling and the implications it has for the force.

"Greater Manchester Police's priority is always going to be to protect our communities.

"As a force we strongly feel special events should not be policed to the detriment of the community and we bring additional officers in for these events rather than taking existing officers away from their front line duties."

She added: "Since the dispute over payment in 2003-4 we have developed a good working relationship with Wigan Athletic which we will continue to build on."


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