Police involved in the first Hillsborough disaster inquiry have launched a trawl of their archives after finding old documents.
West Midlands Police, which examined South Yorkshire Police’s handling of the 1989 disaster in Sheffield, said the documents, some of which are understood to be held on computer disks, have now been passed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The force said ‘recent unrelated searches’ of secure storage areas in Birmingham had ‘uncovered two items of material related to Hillsborough’ – prompting bosses to order a new search of the force’s storage facilities to look for any other documents which may have slipped through the net.
Organisations were asked to disclose all their files on the tragedy to an independent panel which, in its report last year, laid bare a police cover-up aimed at shifting blame for the disaster away from South Yorkshire Police and onto the football fans involved.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “As a result of the find, we have announced a rigorous, systematic search of its archives which is expected to take about three months.
“Search officers will scrutinise storage areas where the force’s investigation of South Yorkshire Police was focused, and other buildings.”
The force’s official storage facility in Derbyshire, where up to 17,000 documents are held, will also be subjected to further examination as part of the searches, which began last week.
Deputy Chief Constable Dave Thompson, of West Midlands Police, said: “We have no reason to believe West Midlands Police holds any more Hillsborough-related material but, due to the recent finds, we want to be able to assert this with the highest degree of confidence to the inquest coroner.
“That’s why we’ve announced a rigorous, systematic search of all archived material in our buildings.
Ninety-six Liverpool football fans were crushed to death in the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium on Saturday, April 15, 1989.