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Hillsborough police may face criminal charges

New allegations surround Norman Bettison as major investigation launched

Published on October 12th 2012.


Hillsborough police may face criminal charges

THE biggest ever inquiry of its kind, into police actions in the UK, is to be launched in the wake of the damning Hillsborough disaster report.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said a large number of serving and former officers will be investigated over the alleged cover up in the aftermath of the tragedy in 1989, and into their actions on the day. 

Norman Bettison By Stephanie De LengNorman Bettison in 2007.
Pic by Stephanie De Leng
Former Merseyside Police chief Norman Bettison, who last week announced he will retire as West Yorkshire Police chief constable in March, has already been referred to the watchdog over allegations that he provided misleading information after the tragedy, along with his former employers South Yorkshire Police.

But today the deputy chair of the IPCC, Deborah Glass, revealed that he is also under investigation for allegations that he "attempted to influence the decision-making process of the West Yorkshire Police Authority in connection with the referral that they had made".

'Criminal'

Meanwhile, the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, said he will look at whether any individual or corporate body should be charged over the 1989 football stadium disaster, which left 96 people dead.

Ms Glass said; "without a shadow of a doubt" it will be the biggest ever investigation carried out into police behaviour in the UK.



She added: "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."

Deborah GlassDeborah GlassFollowing 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 Bettison, after the report was published. He said that Liverpool fans' behaviour made policing the tragedy "harder than it needed to be", sparking calls for him to resign.

Last moth's report, by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, alleged that 164 police statements were altered following the tragedy, 116 of them to remove or change negative comments about the policing of the match and the ensuing disaster.

The IPPC said: “We do not underestimate the size of our task."

Mayor statement...

Hillsborough Vigil
RESPONDING to the announcements from the DPP and IPCC, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: “I very much welcome the 

decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider prosecution
over Hillsborough. The families have waited 23 years to obtain
justice and this announcement sets the wheels in motion at long last.
"I sincerely hope that no stone will be left unturned in delivering the outcome that the families deserve.
 
“I also welcome the fact that they and the Independent Police Complaints Commission will be investigating both former and serving South Yorkshire Police officers, including Sir Norman Bettison.
"The part he and others played, revealed by the Independent Panel’s report, showed that there must be a full investigation into their role.”

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 12th 2012.

This is fantastic for the Hillsborough families and for Liverpool. The extent of the police cover-up, revealed by the Bishop and his team, is staggering. I wonder, though, how many lives or ordinary individuals have been wrecked because the system, the establishment and the judiciary choose to believe the 'wrong' arm of the law. I think the days the words/evidence of police are taken as gospel should from this day be buried forever.

CliveOctober 12th 2012.

I wonder if the British public will ever be able to trust the police again once this is all aired.

How many people have died in police custody again? And how many police officers have been prosecuted?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 13th 2012.

Plenty

None

Paul WardOctober 12th 2012.

I'm very much remnided of a complaint about a "suing culture" from the chief constable of the Met a few years ago when thet were paying record damages for record numbers of illegal acts by police officers. Not a thought about stopping the illegal attacks etc.

Until the likes of Bettison lose their fat pensions, until a few of the ringleaders go to jail, how can we have confidence in a police force that is only too eager to act unlawfully?

mickeydrippin'October 18th 2012.

No matter how much publicity has been given to the recent Hillsborough Independent Panel Report, there is still a certain amount of nasty vitriol being spouted against Liverpool supporters, in various online news forums. Thankfully, the majority of users shoot these idiots down but it is still going to take a little more time to convince everyone that the supporters were not to blame for the teragedy

AnonymousOctober 18th 2012.

Ignore em mate, always been there and always will........envy combined with keyboard warrior personality

1 Response: Reply To This...
mickeydrippin'October 23rd 2012.

These trolls are a minority who seem to spend all day in front of their screens dreaming up anti-Scouser sentiment in respect of any news item that might mention Merseyside. I agree that it gets a bit tedious and I try to ignore it but being a "patriotic" scouser, it does annoy me..

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