Hillsborough disaster: Police statement changes and deletions

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HERE is a flavour of the type of deletions and changes made to officer statements as part of the ‘review and alteration process’.

The following account had the first sentence deleted (in italics):

I at no time heard any directions being given in terms of leadership. The only messages I heard were those requesting assistance of one sort or another, and where appropriate, their acknowledgements.”

Another officer’s view on the role played by senior management was cut entirely, it originally read: “I have to state that even at this stage and this location and with a number of higher ranks in the area nobody seemed to be organising the 

The observation that: “Sergeants and inspectors appeared to be aimlessly milling about” was also deleted.

References to panic and confusion among the police were also removed, including this passage: “...state of panic that appeared to set in and apparently overcame senior officers. The command structure of the force totally broke down for several minutes and no-one appeared to grasp the severity of the situation and take command.”

Alterations were also made to language used by police in statements to describe Liverpool supporters, with ‘animals’ being changed to ‘people’ and ‘louts’ becoming ‘hooligan element’.

Reference to a breakdown in communications among police were also altered.

The following was deleted: “I have only one observation to make on the events on the game, and that was the lack of communication whilst inside the ground. I did not know what was going on.”

As was this statement: “Still no one appeared to know what they were heading for and little, if any, instructions were coming from senior officers.”

Changes were also made to some statements made by the South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service.

For instance a comment that “a (leading ambulance man) told me there were more casualties and it was chaotic,” was removed and the description of an ambulance as ‘abandoned’ was amended to read ‘parked’.