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Relatives gather at Hillsborough ahead of memorial service

Service to mark 26th anniversary of Hillsborough tragedy

An annual memorial service to remember those who died in the Hillsborough disaster will take place in Sheffield later today.

Credit: Press Association

Members of the public are invited to go along to the Hillsborough memorial on Parkside Road, Sheffield, at 2.55pm where Sheffield Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chansiri will lay a wreath in memory of the 96 Liverpool fans who died.

A minute’s silence will be observed and Donna Miller, sister of victim Paul Carlile will read out the names of the 96 who lost their lives.

The service will mark the 26th anniversary of the tragedy.

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Police chief estimates £6 million Hillsborough funding shortfall

The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner says that the force is having to bridge an estimated £6 million shortfall in funding awarded to help pay the legal fees of officers involved in the Hillsborough disaster inquests.

Credit: Press Association

Dr Alan Billings was speaking after the Home Office announced it was handing South Yorkshire Police a special grant of £10.7 million.

Dr Billings says that the early review to establish the costs facing the Force, and the public of South Yorkshire indicate that the shortfall between the grant and estimated total costs could be in the region of £6 million.

This figure is a very early estimation of the costs that we face. We have not yet received the invoices for January to March 2015, a period where there was significant witnesses giving evidence at the inquests.

I repeat my warning of yesterday, that this is very bleak news for the financial position of South Yorkshire Police and we have a lot of work to do, including continued dialogue with the Home Secretary to establish a way forward that will relieve the burden on the public of South Yorkshire.

– Dr Alan Billings

These costs relate to the legal obligation to support both the current Chief Constable, and the eight former and serving officers who have been granted ‘interested person’ status and called to give evidence into the deaths of the 96 Liverpool Football Club fans at Hillsborough in 1989.

South Yorkshire Police disappointed with Hillsborough Inquests funding

A senior official from South Yorkshire Police has raised concern over the amount of Home Office funding awarded to help pay the legal fees of officers involved in the Hillsborough disaster inquests.

Birchwood Park, Warrington, Cheshire where the inquest into the Hillsborough disaster began Credit: Press Association

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, says the sum estimated to be around £10.7million "is substantially less than the total payments" they have had to make.

He goes on say that without adequate reimbursement from the Home Office, the communities of South Yorkshire will have to bear the additional cost, with an ultimate impact on the police budget.

While I recognise that the Home Secretary's decision was a matter of discretion, I am extremely disappointed by both the timing of the announcement and the amount of funding granted.

– Dr Alan Billings

The commissioner has called an emergency meeting with officers and senior police personnel to understand the full implications of the funding announcement.

Today marks a year since the inquests into the deaths of 96 football fans at Hillsborough began.

Hillsborough police officer says he 'did not fail' in his duties

A retired senior South Yorkshire police officer has told a court that he didn't fail in his duties on the day of the Hillsborough disaster. Speaking on his third day of evidence at the fresh inquests into the 1989 tragedy, Roger Greenwood refuted that he was "incompetent on a grand scale."

The former superintendent said he wishes there was more the police could have done. Andy Bonner reports from the special court in Cheshire.

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Hillsborough witness told officers of 'differences in policing'

The court heard that Mr Cruice mentioned the differences in policing between 1988 and 1989 to two West Midlands Police officers who interviewed during an interview at his home in Birkenhead two weeks after the disaster.

The jury has previously been told that the police force investigated the disaster from 1989 for the Taylor Inquiry.

Mr Cruice said he was "very surprised" that none of it was mentioned when he read his statement online earlier this year.

The court heard that the witness statement was written up by one of the officers during the course of the interview and signed by Mr Cruice after he had read it.

He said: "I always remember the 1988 game because of the very structured police operation. It was almost like a cordon, or at least we felt as if we passed through a cordon on the way to the ground… It really stood out, and it still does today, in its efficiency in contrast to a lot of other games I went to at the time."

He told the court he believed he told West Midlands Police about his experience.

"It was the trauma of the day that was still very much first and foremost at the front of my mind. It’s something that I did mention during the conversations but it wasn't an overriding point," he said.

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'Urgent' inquiry into offensive Hillsborough remarks

As more relatives of the 96 Hillsborough victims spoke movingly about their loved ones today at the inquest into their deaths, an urgent inquiry was launched into claims that government computers were used to send offensive remarks about the tragedy to the internet.

The allegation is that changes were made to Wikipedia, the online information site, by someone using Whitehall computers, including some based at the office of the solicitor general. Relatives and Ministers say they are disgusted as Ralph Blunsome reports.

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