National news: Hillsborough disaster - Huge inquiry into police actions to be launched

PUBLISHED: 12:15 12 October 2012 | UPDATED: 14:39 12 October 2012

Tributes left at the Hillsborough Memorial outside the football ground at Anfield, Liverpool. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Tributes left at the Hillsborough Memorial outside the football ground at Anfield, Liverpool. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The biggest ever inquiry into police actions in the UK is to be launched after a coruscating report on the Hillsborough disaster.

Police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said a large number of serving and former officers will be investigated over what happened on the day of the tragedy in Sheffield in 1989, and during the alleged cover-up afterwards.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer also said he will look at whether any individual or corporate body should be charged over the football stadium disaster, which left 96 people who had gone to watch the Liverpool versus Nottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final dead.

The match was being played at the same time as Norwich City were taking on Everton in the other FA Cup semi-final that day.

Deputy chair of the IPCC Deborah Glass said “without a shadow of a doubt” it will be the biggest ever investigation carried out into police behaviour in the UK.

She told reporters: “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.”

The report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel published last month claimed that a shocking cover-up was staged in order to shift blame onto the 96 victims.

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.

Questions have also been raised over whether manslaughter charges should be brought over the deaths.

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.”

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