Hillsborough Disaster: Police chiefs want swift probes

Hillsborough in the aftermath of the disaster in April 1989.
Hillsborough in the aftermath of the disaster in April 1989.
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South Yorkshire police chiefs are calling for ‘swift’ conclusions to fresh inquiries into the Hillsborough disaster.

Chief Constable David Crompton spoke out after relatives of victims who died in April 1989 criticised the progress made by the Independent Police Complaints Commission in the last 12 months.

The IPCC investigation was launched after an independent panel examined Hillsborough files dating back two decades and published papers suggesting a cover-up.

The disaster at Hillsborough stadium claimed 96 lives.

New inquests have been ordered and are due to take place next year and the IPCC is looking into the causes of the disaster and the actions of the police.

Sheila Coleman, from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said the families were ‘gravely concerned by the lack of real progress’.

“We understand the enormity of the task before these bodies.

“Nevertheless, in spite of generous funding by the Home Office, the last year seems to have been occupied by moving into premises and recruiting staff,” she said.

South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton said: “Mistakes were made on that day and our actions contributed to the disaster.

“I wish to repeat my sympathy and apology to the families who lost loved ones and to the many others who were injured and left damaged.

“In the following years, there were several reports and investigations into the events at Hillsborough and I acknowledge and respect their various findings.

“More than 20 years after the disaster, we instigated the Hillsborough Independent Panel to undertake a further investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy and it published its report on 12 September 2012.

“As a result of its findings, three further enquires were set up.

“We are fully supporting all three processes, by encouraging the few officers who were on duty that day and who remain in the force, and those retired or transferred to other forces, to give their accounts to the IPCC.”

Mr Crompton said all of the officers who had been asked to make themselves available for interview had done so willingly and in accordance with the timescales which had been set by the IPCC.

Mr Crompton added: “We share the families’ desire for the IPCC and Jon Stoddart to undertake their enquiries thoroughly and as swiftly as possible.

“We also very much hope that there will be no delay in the commencement of the fresh inquests, due to begin in March 2014, with which South Yorkshire Police will co-operate fully, honestly and compassionately.”