Hillsborough police face inquiry

Scores of police officers including a serving chief constable are being investigated over the Hillsborough disaster in what will be the biggest ever inquiry into police action, it has emerged.

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Hillsborough: Key dates and events

  • April 15, 1989: 94 Liverpool fans die in a crush against the steel terraces at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium.
  • April 19, 1989: The Sun newspaper publishes the headline 'The Truth' blaming drunken fans.
  • August 1989: An interim report by Lord Justice Taylor criticises police for "failing to take effective control", police blamed fans for being "late and drunk".
  • August 1990: Director of Public prosecutions finds insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges for any of the deaths.
  • August 1991: Inquest returns verdict of accidental death, ruling all victims were dead by 3.15pm.
  • April 2009: The Hillsborough Independent Panel is set up.
  • October 2011: MPs agree to hand over all government papers to the panel.
  • September 2012: Independent Panel delivers damning verdict.

Hillsborough chief inspector who sparked fury

After the Hillsborough report was published, a complaint was made to the IPCC that Sir Norman Bettison, who was a chief inspector in South Yorkshire at the time, had supplied misleading information in the wake of the disaster.

West Yorkshire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison Credit: Dave Higgens/PA Wire

A second element of the complaint was over comments made by Sir Norman, currently Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, after the report was published.

He said that Liverpool fans' behaviour made policing the tragedy in 1989 'harder than it needed to be', sparking fury and calls for him to resign.

Last week Sir Norman announced that he is to retire in March, saying: "Recent weeks have caused me to reflect on what is best for the future of policing in West Yorkshire and I have now decided to set a firm date for my retirement."

He said he hoped his departure would allow the IPCC to "fully investigate allegations that have been raised about my integrity".

Sir Norman had previously denied altering any statements or asking for any to be altered.

An officer cannot be subject to misconduct proceedings after they have retired.

IPCC to decide on Hillsborough inquiry

The police watchdog will announce today what action it plans to take over allegations made in a damning report on the Hillsborough disaster.

Tributes left at the Hillsborough Memorial at Anfield, Liverpool Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Claims were made last month that officers had staged a shocking cover-up after the tragedy in an attempt to shift blame on to the 96 victims.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel found that 164 police statements were altered, 116 of them to remove or change negative comments about the policing of the match and the ensuing disaster.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it would review the panel's findings as well as those of previous inquiries into the tragedy.

If the IPCC's predecessor, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), has already investigated certain matters it could stop the IPCC from looking at them again.


South Yorkshire Police considers IPCC move

The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police today said the force would consider asking a police watchdog whether those involved in the Hillsborough tragedy should face manslaughter investigations.

David Crompton said the force was looking into a number of issues to refer to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, including corporate manslaughter, manslaughter and misconduct in public office.

The chief constable also said questions should be raised about why the earlier Lord Justice Stuart-Smith report, which looked into the alteration of police statements, was accepted.

Yvette Cooper calls for investigation of S Yorkshire Police

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has called on the Home Secretary Theresa May to launch a separate criminal investigation into South Yorkshire Police over the Hillsborough cover up. She said:

The double injustice for the families is in the scale and extent of the cover up and the denial of truth by people and institutions that exist to provide just that. Clearly the inquest must focus on the terrible loss of life and will not focus on the subsequent misinformation and altering of evidence.

That is why we are asking the Home Office to set out a proper separate investigation into the cover-up and what happened in South Yorkshire Police, including looking at criminal offences.

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