Final Hillsborough report will not be published before the start of 2023

Further wait for Hillsborough families over final police watchdog report

A final report on the Hillsborough disaster by the police watchdog will not be published before the start of 2023 - more than a decade after investigations were launched.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is preparing a final report on the 1989 tragedy, in which 97 Liverpool fans died at the FA Cup semi-final, and its aftermath.

Its investigation, the largest independent probe into alleged police misconduct and criminality ever carried out in England and Wales, was launched in 2012 following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP) report.

This week, the IOPC said it would be starting a Salmon process, where those criticised in the report are given a chance to respond, in early 2023.

It is not known how long the Salmon process will take, the IOPC said.

The report will include all investigative work carried out by the IOPC and Operation Resolve - a criminal probe set up to examine the events leading up to and on April 15 1989.

It will also cover areas which have not been subject to criminal investigation before, such as the role that investigating force West Midlands Police played in the aftermath of the disaster.

Following the launch of the IOPC investigation, original inquest verdicts into the deaths were quashed and in 2016 new inquests found the victims were unlawfully killed and errors by South Yorkshire Police and the ambulance service caused or contributed to their deaths.

The only person to be convicted as a result of the probes is former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell.

He was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs after he was found guilty of failing to ensure the health and safety of fans arriving at the ground.

The match commander on the day, David Duckenfield, was charged with gross negligence manslaughter in 2017.

However he was cleared in 2019 at a retrial, after the jury in his first trial was unable to reach a verdict.

Last year, retired officers Donald Denton and Alan Foster and former force solicitor Peter Metcalf were acquitted of perverting the course of justice after a judge ruled there was no case to answer.

Sir Norman Bettison, a chief inspector in 1989 who went on to become chief constable of Merseyside and West Yorkshire, was charged with misconduct in a public office as part of the investigation but the charges were dropped in August 2018.

Last July, Andrew Devine became the 97th victim of the disaster when he died more than 32 years after he was badly hurt in the tragedy.

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