SOUTH Yorkshire’s Chief Constable has today admitted that manslaughter investigations could be launched in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster - 23 years after 96 fans died.
See exclusive interview in The Star on Saturday where the Chief Constable talks about the “darkest day in British policing history”.
David Crompton said ‘corporate manslaughter’ and ‘manslaughter investigations against individuals’ were a possibility following the publication of new material unearthed by an independent panel set up to look at all the files on Hillsborough held by 85 organisations for over two decades.
Previously unseen documents revealed a cover-up in which police sought to deflect blame for the disaster from South Yorkshire police to fans, where ‘unfavourable’ police officer statements were altered to conceal the truth.
Speaking at a meeting of South Yorkshire Police Authority, Chief Constable Crompton said his force was reviewing the findings of the panel’s report with a view to what matters it would be referring to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
“Given the breadth and complexity of all the Hillsborough material it will probably take a couple of weeks to put the schedule together,” he said.
“The sort of issues we will be referring to them, that we are considering referring, are that there may be the potential for corporate manslaughter given some of the detail. That relates to how things were handled on the day.
“There may potentially be the possibility of manslaughter investigations against individuals.
“In relation to the alteration of statements, clearly that is something we are looking very closely at. It’s highly likely that they will form part of the referral to the IPCC.”
He said the force is also looking at the issues of ‘misconduct in public office, the leaking of information to the media and breaches of the data protection act, in the way police records weer accessed in the aftermath of the disaster.”
Chief Constable Crompton said every single document and file South Yorkshire Police held on the disaster was handed over to the independent panel set up to review and publish all the material.
“For the last three years the force has had a very effective disclosure process - going round and making available to the Home Office and the independent panel every document that we have that relates in any way at all ti Hillsborough.
“The cupboard’s now bare. There’s nothing left. We have released absolutely everything we have got.
“The force has turned itself inside out to make everything available.”
South Yorkshire Police Authority now streams its meetings live online and records them for play back later.