Kevin’s statement regarding the Inquest into the Hillsborough tragedy
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27 Apr 2016
On Tuesday this week the coroner’s court in Warrington confirmed what many had known for years; Liverpool fans were not to blame at all for the disaster that happened on that fateful day in April 1989. They were unlawfully killed in an incident and for the first time in 27 years, the 96 victims of Hillsborough could finally rest in peace. This day took far too long in coming.
The criticism that has been attributed to South Yorkshire police and other local agencies must be fully investigated, and where appropriate, charges pursued. I must make it clear that nobody blames the ordinary police officers of South Yorkshire who I see doing extraordinary work in difficult circumstances every day. Many of them did their best to help on the day of the disaster but as the court confirmed this week, they were let down by a lack of planning and poor leadership. This is not the only issue locally in which the ordinary hard working officers have been consistently let down by the leadership of their force.
I fully agree with the decision of Dr Alan Billings the Police & Crime commissioner to suspend Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police David Crompton over his handling of the inquests.
We must now give the Independent Police Complaints Commission time to conclude Operation Resolve which is the criminal investigation into the aftermath of the disaster. The IPCC have been supporting the inquiry by providing documents and other material to the coroner. It is now up to them and the CPS to conclude these investigations swiftly and thoroughly and appropriate action be taken.
I believe my colleagues Andy Burnham & Steve Rotherham summed up the verdict in the best way earlier this week when they said “The family’s determination, defiance and dignity in the greatest of adversity is an inspiration. They truly represent the best of what our country is all about. Now that country of ours - and its establishment - is going to have to do some deep thinking about how it let you down for so long.”