Police watchdog clears Met Police chief of lying over Hillsborough disaster

Bernard Hogan-HoweBernard Hogan-Howe
Bernard Hogan-Howe
The police watchdog has found no evidence that the Sheffield-born Commissioner of the Met lied over the Hillsborough disaster.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission launched an investigation into a claim that Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe deliberately lied to journalists about the information he provided to a Hillsborough inquiry in 1990.

The investigation concluded that he had no case to answer for misconduct.

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It was alleged by Paul Spearritt, whose brother Adam died in the Hillsborough disaster, that Sir Bernard had been dishonest when he told journalists in 2012 and 2013 that he had given a witness statement about his involvement in the disaster to the Lord Justice Taylor Inquiry.

The investigation found that in May 1990, Sir Bernard provided a brief verbal description of his involvement in the aftermath of the disaster to PC Greenway, of South Yorkshire Police.

The account was documented and passed to West Midlands Police, which was conducting a criminal investigation into the disaster at that time.

Witness evidence obtained by the IPCC shows the note was mistakenly assumed to be a formal 'statement' by Sir Bernard and his press office staff.

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A second document was also misinterpreted - a written instruction on the West Midlands Police investigation database asking for Sir Bernard to be contacted.

It led to an assumption that Sir Bernard later declined to add to the supposed formal statement when asked to do so.

The investigation did not find any record of a request from PC Greenway, or a subsequent refusal by Sir Bernard, to make a formal statement.

The IPCC said there is evidence to support that documenting brief verbal accounts from officers who were not on duty until after the disaster, like Sir Bernard, was common practice by South Yorkshire Police at the time.

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IPCC Deputy Chairman, Rachel Cerfontyne, said: “The investigation found no evidence that Sir Bernard deliberately attempted to mislead.

"The evidence supports that he acted quickly to rectify this error after it had come to light, by issuing a further public statement setting out what had happened.”