Police Federation holds minute's silence for Hillsborough disaster victims

The Hillsborough disaster
The Hillsborough disaster
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Police Federation members held a minute's silence today for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

At the Federation's annual conference in Brighton, members acknowledged 'errors' were made in how officers reacted.

Inquests into the deaths of the Liverpool fans at an FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough in 1989 concluded that the victims were 'unlawfully killed' and that police actions 'caused or contributed' to the disaster.

Federation chairman Steve White said today it was now time to 'draw a line' and move on.

"Sadly, like every organisation, errors are made - nowhere more so than at Hillsborough 27 years ago," he told the Federation's conference.

"The tragic events of that day left 96 families mourning for their loved ones, and others - fans, stewards, and emergency service workers - traumatised by their desperate attempts to help and save lives.

"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with the families and friends of the 96 people who lost their lives."

He said it was 'unfair' to hold police officers of today responsible for what happened at Hillsborough.

"It is right that we are held to account - whether that's policing a football match, policing a picket line in a long-running dispute, policing a demonstration, or policing a riot," he said.

"But we must draw a line.

"And we must also draw a distinction between the actions of a minority of senior officers decades ago, and the behaviours of the majority of our members today."

Home Secretary Theresa May said the tragedy should never be forgotten.

"Let's not forget when we look at Hillsborough, the principle obstacle to the pursuit of justice has not been the passage of time," she said.

"The problem has been due process was obstructed, and the police - the custodians of justice - failed to put justice first.

"We must not let the lessons of Hillsborough and other past injustices go unheeded, and we must not be afraid to face up to the challenges of today."

She told delegates that the tragedy should serve as a 'touchstone' for how police respond to future events.