A ‘perfect storm’ of different factors contributed to the Hillsborough disaster taking place, a policing expert has said.
Douglas Hopkins told the inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans that many factors had combined to cause the tragedy and it was a ‘like a perfect storm’.
During questioning from match commander David Duckenfield’s barrister John Beggs QC, Mr Hopkins said he agreed that if the jury finds that a significant minority of Liverpool fans didn’t behave responsibly, that would be a ‘causative factor’ to the tragedy.
He said the operational order for the game was ‘deeply flawed’ and the information given to Mr Duckenfield was ‘inadequate’. Mr Hopkins said Mr Duckenfield had been in an ‘invidious position’.
Mr Hopkins agreed that prior to the tragedy, the match commander was an excellent police officer who was dedicated, hard working, loyal and trustworthy - but said that none of those attributes made him fit to be a match commander.
He also said it had been an ‘unwise’ decision to appoint Mr Duckenfield to be in charge of the game. The officer was given the role just three weeks before the match took place.
He said: “He’s obviously a man who flew the operation by the seat of his pants, but to do that you have got to be able to fly.”
Mr Hopkins said it would have been difficult for Mr Duckenfield to turn down the opportunity of being in charge of ‘a showcase event for SYP’ and agreed there had been a ‘macho, can-do’ culture in the force.
He added: “I don’t think I would have considered Mr Duckenfield fit to run that match.”