1. ITV Report

Dog handlers called to Hillsborough stadium during crush

The court was shown a transcript of radio communications. Photo: Hillsborough Inquests

The Hillsborough inquests have heard that police were calling dog handlers to the ground as fans in the crowded pens were seen climbing over the fence.

The court was shown the transcript of a radio communication between police camera operator Trevor Bichard and police headquarters.

"Hillsborough Ground Control, if you got any dog handlers available can they attend the stadium immediately please? Over."

– Police officer

"Where do you want to rendezvous? Over."

– Operator

"Yeah straight into the ground, Gate O, and then into – on to the pitch. On to the player area. Over."

– Police officer

Families barrister Sean Horstead said: "So you are calling for dog handlers. Using your own eyes… you are looking at members of the public coming over the fence, stood neatly off the pitch on the perimeter, controlled, if that is the appropriate word, by no more than a couple of officers, and your call is for dog handlers?"

"Yes I wouldn't have made that call of my own volition. I would have been instructed to do that," he replied.

The court heard the match was stopped at 3.06pm and Mr Bichard agreed it was then clear there was not a public order incident.

Mr Horstead then asked: "Can you explain please why there was a delay until 15:13 or 15:14 around that period before you put in a call to operations to get a fire service appliance there with hydraulic cutting equipment? Why the delay?"

The witness replied: "Before that time, Sgt Goddard had been – he knew that there was some recovery equipment that was kept with the road traffic section which was at Clay Wheels Lane quite close by. He was trying to telephone to get in touch with somebody at Clay Wheels Lane to obtain that equipment…. As he gets a negative result from Clay Wheels Lane, I contact the fire service."

Mr Bichard agreed it was reasonable that the decision to call for cutting equipment should have been made minutes earlier.

"The blindingly obvious need was to assist people out of that terrace and cutting equipment for those fences was the obvious course to take, was it not?" Mr Horstead asked.

"I’m not sure I would say an obvious one," replied the witness. "It was a solution to a problem. You know, you'd think that getting people through the gates were the obvious solution but again, realising now those gates were quite tiny and actually you had to step up to get through them onto the pitch. Even that task was very difficult."

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