Ex-police officers may be reluctant to give evidence about the Hillsborough disaster, a group representing them has claimed.
A new branch of the National Association of Retired Police Officers – set up to represent those involved in the inquiries into the 1989 tragedy in Sheffield – said its members are being encouraged to ‘co-operate fully’, but some may have reservations.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is interviewing officers whose statements about the tragedy were altered in a bid to deflect blame for the disaster from South Yorkshire Police to the football fans involved.
An independent panel set up to review all the Hillsborough files held by organisations since the disaster 24 years ago found there had been a police cover-up.
Chairman Mick Brookfield said: “We hold the view that it is in the interests of South Yorkshire Police and the families of the deceased that the investigation has access to all available evidence.
“Our concern, however, is media coverage of events since the Independent Report was published will not have helped encourage their desire to become involved.
“Some of the publicity regarding, in particular, statements by senior politicians and others who should know better, has been disgraceful and entirely inappropriate, especially in the light of the forthcoming inquiries.”
Ninety-six Liverpool FC fans died in a crush at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground in the disaster.