Ipswich Town loses bid to sue police over charges

Portman Road
Image caption The club argued that the police unlawfully charged Ipswich Town for match day policing outside Portman Road

Ipswich Town has failed in its court action over who should pay for policing outside its Portman Road stadium on match days.

The club sued Suffolk Police for £200,000, claiming it was "unlawfully" charged for policing in 2008-2013.

It said the force should not have charged it for keeping order on the streets around the ground.

The High Court said Suffolk Police was entitled in law to recover the costs of policing the ground outside the club.

Nick De Marco, for the club, told the High Court it was paying for "ordinary policing on the public highway".

Image caption The club's barrister said it had been a victim of "illegal charging"

The club added that the force was not entitled to charge for the provision of "special police services" on these occasions.

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However, Suffolk Police countered with a claim that the club owed it £96,000 in unpaid invoices for the policing of the public highway on Portman Road and Sir Alf Ramsey Way, where the gates and turnstiles are situated, and which are the subject of a traffic control order by the local authority.

It said that the test of whether the land was "owned, leased or controlled" was the correct one for determining whether it was carrying out special police services and that the club controlled the public highway.

Ipswich Town said the correct test was whether policing was conducted on public, as opposed to private, land and - in any case - it did not "control" the public highway.

On Friday, at London's High Court, after a hearing which was only concerned with liability, the judge Mr Justice Green said that, from the facts, the services provided by the police within the traffic control order area amounted to special police services and they were entitled to impose charges.

Any application to appeal and the issue of the amount payable will be heard at a later date.

The case comes three years after West Yorkshire Police lost its appeal over payment for policing at Leeds United's Elland Road ground.

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