Police to be investigated over conduct in Hillsborough stadium disaster
HUNDREDS OF serving and retired police officers are to face investigation into their conduct during the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which could see some facing manslaughter charges, the British director of public prosecution has said.
In a two-pronged approach, the director of public prosecution is to investigate the possibility of taking manslaughter charges, while the police’s own disciplinary body, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, is to open its biggest single investigation.
Last month’s 400-page report from an independent inquiry led by the Church of England Bishop of Liverpool clearly showed that the 96 Liverpool supporters crushed to death at Hillsborough ground were not responsible for causing the disaster.
Saying that a special team of investigators is to be set up to probe the conduct of South Yorkshire and West Midlands police, the commission’s deputy chair, Deborah Glass, said: “We have identified a large number of potential criminal and misconduct offences.”
The DPP, Keir Starmer, said last month’s report would be immediately reviewed, along with any information available to see “if there is sufficient evidence to charge any individual or corporate body with any criminal offence”.
A number of key areas never previously investigated by the police will be examined, including interference in police statements which the Bishop of Liverpool-led inquiry clearly showed were doctored to shift responsibility away from senior officers.
The IPCC intends to question all of the people involved who are still alive: “The alleged nature of some of the amendments may amount to the criminal offences of perverting the course of justice or misconduct in a public office,” said the IPCC.
Meanwhile, the briefings, which again painted the fans in the worst possible light, given by Sheffield police officers and a local Conservative MP to a news agency in the city will be investigated.
The agency’s copy was eventually used by the editor of the Sun,Kelvin MacKenzie as the basis for his infamous “The Truth” front-page, which accused some survivors of robbing and urinating on the dead and injured.
The IPCC will focus on whether police officers were involved in the coroner’s decision to seek blood samples from the dead – even from one boy aged 10, along with criminal records checks .