Hillsborough policing plan ‘deficient’ admits top cop

Hillsborough disaster'Photo by Rex Features
Hillsborough disaster'Photo by Rex Features
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A former South Yorkshire Police assistant chief constable told the new inquests into the Hillsborough Disaster he was not aware Liverpool fans had been allocated half as many turnstiles as Nottingham Forest fans.

Former ACC Walter Jackson, who played a key role in planning for the policing of the 1989 FA Cup semi-final, made the admission at the new inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool FC supporters.

Jonathan Hough, counsel to the inquests, said: “We have heard that only seven turnstiles were available to over 10,000 fans with Leppings Lane terrace tickets.”

Mr Jackson said he wasn’t aware of that either.

“It might be said to be unsatisfactory that the senior officer who was ratifying the operational plan didn’t know those facts about the turnstile allocations,” said Mr Hough.

Mr Jackson said: “I wouldn’t deal with that situation. That would be a local issue and that’s where it should rather be placed.

“The liaison with the club would be with the chief superintendent, the club, and it would not be something I would deal with.”

Mr Hough also asked about instructions to officers on the Leppings Lane terrace and rear enclosure, which said they would ensure order was maintained on the terraces.

He said: “Were you aware, when you received this order in 1989, that the serial to which the instruction is given couldn’t see the terraces from where they were deployed.”

Mr Jackson, now 77, said he wasn’t aware of it and agreed it was a deficiency in the plan.

He said there were serials in front of the terraces to monitor them.

Mr Hough said: “In this substantial operational order, there is not a sentence that says to any officers, ‘You shall monitor the state of the filling of the pens and report if the pens are looking overfull’. Do you think that is a sentence that should have appeared?”

Mr Jackson said: “I think in hindsight, because of what’s happened here, perhaps that should have been done.

“What I was saying is that the officers in front of the terraces would be able to monitor that, and if there was a problem then they would deal with it.”

The hearing continues.