News In Depth
Police chief apologises to fans
The chief constable of South Yorkshire Police has said he is "profoundly sorry" for his force's actions in the aftermath of the disaster.
David Crompton said he had been "shocked" by the findings of the report and officers had made "grave errors".
He said in a statement: "In the immediate aftermath senior officers sought to change the record of events. Disgraceful lies were told which blamed the Liverpool fans for the disaster.
"I am profoundly sorry for the way the force failed on 15th April 1989 and I am doubly sorry for the injustice that followed and I apologise to the families of the 96 and Liverpool fans."
The statement added: "On that day, South Yorkshire Police failed the victims and families. The police lost control.
"These actions have caused untold pain and distress for over 23 years.
"South Yorkshire Police is a very different place in 2012 from what it was 23 years ago and we will be fully open and transparent in helping to find answers to the questions posed by the panel today."
Mr Crompton told BBC News: "I think some grave errors were made in this particular case.
"What we are talking about are some very, very serious errors and misjudgements that were made in relation to Hillsborough and the aftermath of it and I think the panel have brought that out today, and I am shocked by it and so are my senior people.
He said what happened "adds up to about the worst possible set of circumstances anyone could possibly imagine".
"Even now, 23 years after the event, I would wish to profoundly apologise not only to the families of the 96, but also Liverpool fans in general," he added.
Asked if a similar police cover-up could happen again, he said: "I don't think that the standards that were employed then in any way correspond to the sorts of standards of openness and transparency that any of us would expect these days."
Questioned about whether people should face prosecution, Mr Crompton said: "I think if people are shown to have acted criminally, then they should face prosecution, it's a very, very simple equation for me.
"If people have done acts which pass the threshold of criminal responsibility, then they are liable and action should be taken."
Asked if he expected to be working with the Independent Police Complaints Commission fairly shortly on this, he said: "We will offer whatever help, whether it's to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, or anybody else.
"Clearly those decisions, I think, as you would expect, need to be made by others rather than here locally in South Yorkshire, but we stand ready to offer our assistance to any further inquiries which will add to the understanding of both the families and anybody else who is interested to know exactly what went on at Hillsborough."
Meanwhile, Sheffield City Council apologised for the part it played in licensing and carrying out "inadequate and poorly recorded inspections" of the Hillsborough stadium.
The report found that Sheffield Wednesday's football ground "failed to meet minimum standards under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975".
The city council was part of the local Advisory Group for Safety at Sports Grounds along with other officials such as the police.
The report also criticised Sheffield Wednesday, stating: "There is clear evidence that SWFC's primary consideration was cost and, to an extent, this was shared by its primary safety consultants, Eastwood & Partners."
John Mothersole, council chief executive, said the authority had co-operated fully with the report authors.
He said: "Our role has already been subject to public inquiry, including the Taylor inquiry, which found that our actions at the time were wanting and criticised.
"For that we sincerely apologise.
"Our thoughts remain, as they always have been, with the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the disaster."
Wednesday's report says in 1987 Sheffield City Council wrote to Sheffield Wednesday stating that the police were "quite satisfied with the stadium and have indicated that the degree of co-operation which they receive is very satisfactory".