Retired officers from South Yorkshire Police have been told to be proud of their work in the 1980s, in a message mistakenly made public on a website in the wake of the Hillsborough inquest findings.
The posting ended by telling retired officers: "You will be feeling sore, angry and disheartened, but you did a good job".
Yesterday, the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police David Crompton was suspended, a move welcomed by the families of Hillsborough victims.
'Mistakes were made'
The message on the website for the South Yorkshire branch of the National Association of Retired Police Officers (Narpo) said former officers had "great sympathy" for the families and friends of the victims killed, reports the BBC.
The branch's secretary Rick Naylor went on to say "mistakes were made and we would all like to turn the clock back".
But despite the force being criticised in the wake of the jury's conclusions, his message pointed out "there were many examples of outstanding actions and selflessness by police officers on that tragic day as they did their best to deal with the disaster unfolding before them".
He added that the group had tried to remain dignified while "bile and hatred" was directed towards the force.
He said South Yorkshire Police had faced "immense challenges" in the 1980s, including Hillsborough and the miners' strike.
"Along the way we caught the Yorkshire Ripper!" he wrote.
"You will be feeling sore, angry and disheartened, but you did a good job - we all did," he added.
The message is no longer on the Narpo South Yorkshire website.
The force came under fire in the House of Commons on Wednesday, with criticism led by shadow home secretary Andy Burnham, who accused it of "protecting itself above protecting people".
Burnham called for the chief constable's resignation, saying the families had been put "through hell again" during the longest jury case in British legal history.
He said millions of pounds of public money had been used to continue a "cover-up" and retell "discredited lies against Liverpool supporters".
Shortly after the session, Alan Billings, SYP's Police and Crime Commissioner, announced that he had suspended David Crompton.
Rick Naylor, a former president of the Police Superintendents' Association, declined to comment when approached by reporters at his detached house in Sheffield.