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South Yorkshire police officers felt under pressure to accept changes to their witness statements

Hillsborough disaster

Hillsborough disaster

An investigation into possible police misconduct in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster has led to the discovery that officers were forced to accept changes to their witness statements.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is looking into the actions of police officers after 96 fans died at a football match at Hillsborough in April 1989.

A probe was launched after an independent panel examined all the Hillsborough files held by organisations.

The panel discovered that 240 police statements were altered, many to shift blame away from the police.

So far, 143 police officers have been interviewed about their statements.

The police watchdog, the IPCC, said a number of themes had emerged, including officers feeling ‘under pressure’ to accept changes to their statements.

IPCC Deputy Chairman, Rachel Cerfontyne, said: “The officers who have been interviewed are all regarded as witnesses and they have been cooperative and given detailed accounts.

“It is apparent that some themes are developing from the accounts so far - officers being unaware that changes had been made to their statements; others being aware of changes but believing they were the result of legal advice because accounts should only be factual and not contain opinion; some officers challenging the reasons for the amendments, but accepting the changes following discussions with senior officers; and some officers describing being placed under pressure to accept changes.”

Of the 240 officers whose statements were changed 22 have died, 10 are deemed unfit for interview, and 13 have refused to cooperate with the probe.

n We have been asked to point out that Operation Resolve, the criminal investigation into the Hillsborough Disaster, is not connected to the IPCC.

The IPCC is investigating possible police misconduct.

The investigations have different remits but are running alongside each other.

 

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