UK & World News
Hillsborough: Police Could Face Charges
Police officers could face criminal charges over alleged changes to statements after the Hillsborough disaster, it has been announced.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said a "large number" of current and former officers would be investigated over what happened on the day of the tragedy in Sheffield in 1989 - and during the subsequent alleged cover-up.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said prosecutors would consider if there was enough evidence to charge any individual or corporate body with any criminal offence.
The IPCC's deputy chair Deborah Glass said: "I think I can confidently say this will be the largest independent inquiry that has been launched into the actions of the police in the United Kingdom."
Last month, a report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel claimed a shocking cover-up was staged in order to shift blame onto the 96 Liverpool fans who died following the crush during the FA Cup semi-final match against Nottingham Forest.
It alleged that 164 police statements were altered in the wake of the tragedy, 116 of them to remove or change negative comments about the policing of the match and the ensuing disaster.
Lawyers for some of the victims' families have argued that corporate manslaughter charges should be levelled against South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Wednesday and the Football Association.
South Yorkshire Police dealt with the initial tragedy and West Midlands Police investigated how South Yorkshire handled the disaster.
Ms Glass said: "The potential criminal and misconduct offences disclosed by the panel's report fall into two broad categories.
"They are the allegations that go to the heart of what happened at Hillsborough in April 1989 and individuals and institutions may be culpable for the deaths, and there are allegations about what happened after the disaster, that evidence was fabricated and misinformation was spread in an attempt to shift blame.
"We will investigate the role of South Yorkshire Police and West Midlands Police in these matters. This will mean that a large number of current and former officers will be under investigation, including Sir Norman Bettison, whose conduct was referred by the West Yorkshire Police Authority."
Following the publication of the report, a complaint was made to the IPCC that Sir Norman, who was a chief inspector in South Yorkshire at the time, had supplied misleading information in the wake of the disaster.
A second element of the complaint was over comments made by Sir Norman, currently Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, after the report was published.
He said that Liverpool fans' behaviour made policing the tragedy "harder than it needed to be", sparking furious calls for him to resign.
It also emerged that Sir Norman will face a further investigation by the IPCC over claims he tried to influence their decision-making process in relation to the Hillsborough allegations.
Ms Glass said: "This alleges that he attempted to influence the decision-making process of the authority, that is the West Yorkshire Police Authority, in connection with the referral they made on September 18."
Sir Norman announced last week that he would retire in March, saying: "Recent weeks have caused me to reflect on what is best for the future of policing in West Yorkshire and I have now decided to set a firm date for my retirement." He has welcomed the investigation.
Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, told Sky News: "At this moment in time, I'm very, very happy.
"I think the families will be pleased to hear (this). They're going to look back into all the serving policemen on that day and I think that's a great thing to do, because there were so many involved, I think, in the heart of that cover-up."
Liverpool FC welcomed the announcement. Managing director Ian Ayre said: "This is another significant step forward in the campaign for justice for Hillsborough families and survivors."
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what do you think?
Could? Should, surely? I would suggest perjury and perverting the course of justice would be good start points.
I agree, but you will find that it will be the local bobby that gets hit and not the ones at the top. Also the persons outside the police force that gave the orders to cover it up.
Police face justice? Believe it when I see it. Dont hold your breath
Ben beat me to it
Yes they are up in arms and saying police face justice. Let me remind you , a lot of the police that day and the days after where only following orders from higher up. And from higher up outside the police force its self.
I think I would rather have lost my job
The old ''I was just following orders'' excuse
Let me also remind you also. This happened 23 years ago when if you were told to keep your mouth shut you did so. And if you did not you would have been discredited in any way possible to kept this matter hidden. Just like the BBC done with Jimmy Savile.
Say no more. Who do you think told the police to cover it up???????
23 years too late. This enquiry should've happened years ago. I hope these families finally get justice and those responsible for this disaster are brought to task
Sadly, I think John Lonsdale is right. There may be a few scapegoats out of this, but those who were making the orders for any cover up will be left unscathed. Has not one of them just announced he was to take early retirement? How nice.
all orders would have come from the top !!!! start there most will have been following orders and possible the threat of losing jobs if ignored shamless !!!!!!!
But not at the top of the police force you need to look higher.
Plenty of police bashing on here . don't get me wrong I do not have much sympathy for the police but this would never have happened in the first place if the so called fans behaved like humanbeings and not like wild stamppeeding animals .I agree there has been some kind of cover up but now I believe it's all about money not justice because we now live in a compensation mad world
What do you mean fans behaving like wild animals?. If the police had done there jobs properly then there wouldn't have been any deaths you idiot.
Also grice its people like you that like to aggravate the situation with your empty headed thoughts.
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You have never been to a top football match in the 80`s the F.A. packed us in like animals it was an accident waiting to happen,made even worse by Maggie Thatcher's ground fencing in the crowds. It was never about the money only justice.
Oh my word.........silly boy
MP calls a police officer a pleb and the whole of the country turn against him. Police officers cover up the deaths of innocent people and the ''might'' face charges. Pathetic. They should lose their jobs and every penny of their pensions.
They were order to cover it up. All thanks to maggie.
Let me also remind you also. This happened 23 years ago when if you were told to keep your mouth shut you did so. And if you did not you would have been discredited in any way possible to kept this matter hidden. Just like the BBC done with Jimmy Savile. In this incident when so many innocent young and elderly people lost their life, this cover up goes higher then the police force.
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