Police watchdog focuses on Hillsborough disaster misconduct accusations

Misconduct allegations against police officers involved in the Hillsborough disaster are now the focus of the police watchdog's attention.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is investigating an alleged cover up after the Hillsborough disaster, is looking into 170 misconduct allegations made against police officers.

The watchdog said that its 'criminal enquiries' have 'substantially concluded' with eight files on suspects referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration, with investigators now focusing on misconduct claims against officers.

Operation Resolve, which is looking at the causes of the disaster, has referred 15 files to the CPS.

Those under investigation have since retired but could face prosecution if the CPS decides if any failings were serious enough.

A total of 96 fans lost their lives following a crush at Hillsborough football stadium during a game on April 15, 1989, when too many fans were allowed onto the terraces.

Rachel Cerfontyne, of the IPCC, said: "Some of these allegations are contained in complaints received from family members of those who died, survivors of the tragedy and members of the public.

"There have also been potential misconduct issues identified from other investigative work, including a review of all witness statements gathered during the course of the wider inquiry

"Misconduct occurs when the professional police standards are breached by an individual.

"Police officers and staff can lose their jobs in the most serious cases where misconduct is proven,

"The evidence we have gathered so far relating to these officers indicates alleged misconduct, not criminality. However this can and will be reviewed if any further evidence emerges as we carry out this work.

"These police officers being investigated for alleged misconduct have now retired. This means that they cannot face any disciplinary sanctions if a case to answer for misconduct is found. However, officers who are no longer serving can still face criminal proceedings if the CPS decide to bring criminal charges."