Police chiefs gave Hillsborough a clean bill of health while a more junior officer was raising concerns about the ground, the new inquest has heard.
But Terence Stuart, the former head of the South Yorkshire Police unit responsible for public order and football matches, denied there was ‘complacency’ within the force and told the jury it was ‘stunning’ to be shown an internal memo raising concerns about the stadium 25 years on.
The retired officer was questioned about his involvement with Hillsborough in the years before the disaster when he was superintendent in charge of the Force Operations division, with responsibility for policing football matches.
He left the post a month before the disaster on April 15 1989 when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death on the Leppings Lane terrace.
Mr Stuart was asked about letters and memos from the 1980s relating to Hillsborough stadium.
The jury was shown a memo from Inspector Calvert on ‘F’ Division, covering the Hillsborough stadium, to his boss the Chief Superintendent, dated June 11 1986.
In it the inspector complained of “crowd access to the Leppings Lane” and “congestion due to crash barriers” but approaches to the club had met with “little success in many cases”.
Mr Stuart said the matters were never brought to his attention.
He said: “Never seen it at all and I find it absolutely stunning.
“The content merits some serious action.”