£1.5m paid to police for stress suffered over Sheffield disaster

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COMPENSATION totalling £1.5 million was paid to 16 policemen for stress suffered in the Hillsborough disaster when the average payout for families of the dead was just £3,500.

The revelation comes in the wake of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s release of 450,000 documents which revealed a cover-up of South Yorkshire Police’s failings by senior officers and absolved Liverpool fans of any blame.

Families of the 96 victims of the 1989 disaster called for fairer compensation.

Trevor Hicks, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: “Many who lost family members received nothing.

“It should be fair and equitable for all. This is double standards.”

The families said yesterday they would be seeking new inquests after a meeting with their lawyers.

Trevor Hicks, from the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said there was also pressure for criminal charges.

He said: “We have spoken to our lawyers and taken initial advice.

“We will be petitioning the government, the attorney general, the Director of Public Prosecutions on all these various matters. He added letters would be sent today.

Meanwhile, a complaint has been made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison, who was a South Yorkshire Police officer at the time of the Disaster.

West Yorkshire Police Authority’s Special Committee agreed to record a complaint against Sir Norman - as further revelations were made over the weekend.

Chairman of West Yorkshire Police Authority’s Special Committee, Richard Baldwin, said: “A number of factors led to the committee taking the decision to refer the complaint to the IPCC, including the gravity of the subject matter, the wholly exceptional circumstances and a pressing need to maintain public confidence in both policing governance and the police complaints system.”

Sir Norman said: “I welcome this step. I spoke with the chief executive of the police authority this morning and told him I would be pleased to see the authority take this action. It is time this moved into a more formal and legal inquiry, where it can be considered, analysed and fully assessed.”

Sir Norman was an off-duty South Yorkshire Police inspector when he attended the game and was involved in an internal inquiry held by the force in its aftermath.

FURTHER HILLSBOROUGH REVELATIONS - WHAT THE WEEKEND PAPERS SAID:

FORMER South Yorkshire Police constable David Frost, told a judge-led inquiry into Hillsborough held in 1997 there was a co-ordinated cover-up about failings of senior officers at the stadium.

The Independent on Sunday reported he told the inquiry, held in private by Lord Justice Stuart-Smith, how, three days after the tragedy, he and other policemen were taken to a pub by a senior officer and warned: “It’s backs to the wall, boys. We’ve all got to say the same thing.

“Unless we all get our heads together and straighten it out, there are heads going to roll.”

But the Staurt-Smith inquiry concluded there was nothing to add to the original inquiry into the disaster by Lord Justice Taylor.

Other revelations included journalist Adrian Tempany recalling in The Times of his terror at being among the crowd crushed in the Leppings Lane end as a 19-year-old Liverpool fan.

The Mirror and Sun reported former South Yorkshire Police constable Martin McLoughlin called for senior officers to be jailed for altering his statement which was critical of matchday commanders.

In The Mail on Sunday, another former South Yorkshire PC claimed senior officers called at his home to pressure him into changing a statement which was critical of commanders only days after the tragedy.