Dozens of police officers refuse to speak to Hillsborough crime probe

South Yorkshire Police Headquarters on Carbrook Hall Road, Sheffield
South Yorkshire Police Headquarters on Carbrook Hall Road, Sheffield

Dozens of police officers have refused to speak to a criminal investigation into the Hillsborough Disaster.

Operation Resolve has revealed that of the 100 people who refused to speak to its investigation team, 38 were police officers on the day of the disaster.

A spokesman said those who refused to speak included people ‘who did not want to relive the traumatic event’.

Others who declined to speak to the investigation included 27 spectators, three emergency services workers and 32 other witnesses.

A further 67 people said they could not speak to investigators on medical grounds, including 22 police officers, 11 emergency service personnel and 11 spectators.

Operation Resolve officials said 20 other witnesses said they had ‘nothing further to add’ when approached by investigators, including 14 police officers.

Jon Stoddart, who is heading Operation Resolve, said investigators had no power to compel witnesses to cooperate with them.

He said some of those who have not been spoken to are believed to hold ‘significant witness evidence’.

He said: “Unfortunately, we have been unable - largely through health reasons - to interview them.”

It comes as a police constable who was on duty during the Hillsborough disaster has said she feared senior officers would ‘throw us to the wolves’ if she spoke out.

An inquest jury ruled 96 Liverpool fans were unlawfully killed in the 1989 tragedy and found that blunders by South Yorkshire’s police and ambulance services “caused or contributed to” their deaths.

Fiona Nicol, who was a constable when she volunteered to police the game on her day off, said she had been scared of reprisals from the police hierarchy.

She told the BBC: “I thought they were trying to blame and scapegoat us and if the opportunity had come they would throw us to the wolves.

“I always kept quiet because I was afraid.”