Lawyers acting for the Hillsborough victims’ families have demanded the Home Secretary begin a ‘root and branch’ inquiry into South Yorkshire Police.
Solicitor Elkan Abrahamson called for the force a ‘shambles’ and said a ‘rigorous and continuing examination of its behaviour was needed.
The demand to Theresa May came a day after acting chief constable Dawn Copley, who replaced David Crompton on Wednesday following the inquest findings, offered to step down after it emerged she had previously been the subject of a misconduct investigation.
Mr Abrahamson, of legal firm Broudie Jackson Canter, said: “We are appalled to see the shambles in South Yorkshire Police following the Hillsborough Inquest verdict.
“South Yorkshire Police leadership have showed a lamentable refusal to face up to the fact that their organisation needs to take a long hard look at their values and ethics.”
The 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster were judged this week to have been unlawfully killed. Mr Abrahamson, representing 20 of the victims’ families, called on the Home Secretary to send in a team to look at South Yorkshire Police, ‘root and branch, to speak to the rank and file and see what they think is wrong in the force and what needs to be done’.
The investigation into Mrs Copley happened during her time with Greater Manchester Police. A force spokesman confirmed an independent investigation had been carried out by Kent Police after a number of allegations, which reportedly involved senior officers accused of ‘corrupt practice’.
Mr Abrahamson added: “We believe the rank and file officers in the force are being let down by their leaders. Sadly the only solution would appear to be the application of remedial measures and we have today asked Theresa May to commence the procedure to enable this.”
South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings said Mrs Copley had ‘offered to step back to her substantive role’ while another candidate was sought.
She did not want ‘any further negative publicity or criticism to be levelled at the force’, Dr Billings added.
“As this matter has not yet been concluded I am unable to comment publicly on the allegations and the outcome but as soon as I am able, I will do so,” he said.
“In the meantime Mrs Copley has my full support.”