South Yorkshire Police braced for compensation claims

Dr Alan Billings

Dr Alan Billings

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Police chiefs in South Yorkshire are gearing up for compensation claims from people affected by the Hillsborough disaster and victims of the child sexual exploitation scandal in Rotherham.

Police and Crime Commission, Dr Alan Billings, revealed this week that claims have been received from relatives of victims of the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 football fans lost their lives, plus other people affected by events at Hillsborough football stadium on the day.

He said he also expects claims from victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, after an independent report found that 1,400 children were abused in the town between 1997 and 2013 while those in authority turned a blind eye.

Compensation is likely to be sought on the grounds of police failures.

Dr Billings made the disclosure at an event organised by The Star and BBC Radio Sheffield to discuss the state of policing in South Yorkshire today and the vision for the future.

He said historic issues were still relevant to county’s police force today and that the current budget could be hit my a number of compensation claims.

“Some historic issues are still present in the present time. We are being pursued by those who were affected by Hillsborough not just those who were relatives of the 96 who died but many of those who were present in the stadium at the time,” he said.

“They will be pursuing civil claims against the force. All that falls on the budget of South Yorkshire Police. You can’t do anything about that. The are going to come to us.

“Child sexual exploitation - there will be civil claims, not just criminal cases. That will fall on the force budget.

“My job is to help the force manage those resources.

“Unless the Government comes to our help we have to do all the things that other forces do, which is managing a decreasing budget with fewer resources as a consequence. We have to do all that plus all the other things. There is no way round that unless the Home Secretary is kind to us.”

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