Dec 11 2012 by Our Correspondent, Formby Times
THE Hillsborough independent panel report, among other things, found evidence of extensive alteration of police records and attempts to impugn the reputations of the deceased.
In its response to the report, the Independent Police Complaints Commission noted that it could not investigate all aspects of the police’s conduct, because when the IPCC took over from the Police Complaints Authority, a transitional provisions order set out that certain old cases could not be investigated under the new framework.
The Government has introduced a bill to allow the IPCC to overcome this hurdle so that a further step can be taken in giving justice to the families of the 96 who died at Hillsborough in 1989.
One example of what is set out in the Hillsborough panel report is the early lie, by Chief Superintendent Duckenfield, about the gates being forced open.
This was investigated by West Midlands Police, under the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority.
The IPCC is legally prevented from investigating the issue further without a law change.
There were serious failings on the day and an immediate and longer-term cover-up by police officers, yet no one has been convicted for their role in either the deaths of the 96 or the systematic cover-up and the vilification of the dead, their families and the injured.
It is to be hoped that this Bill will help that injustice to be rectified.
Police officers and former officers need to come forward to give evidence and tell their story.
They can do this knowing that they have public support.
There should be an end to any protection of colleagues or former colleagues.
In the debate in Parliament, the minister, Damian Green, rightly spoke of the “industrial scale” of the alteration of statements.
He was right and everything must now be done to deliver justice to the families of those who died at Hillsborough.
That applies to the bid for new inquests and an added urgency has been given to this as Anne Williams is seriously ill.
Anne spends much of her time in a hospice in Southport.
Justice for Anne and the other families is the absolute priority.From what the Attorney-General has said, the application for new inquests is imminent.
I again asked in Parliament this week for confirmation that this is going to happen quickly.
The Bill requiring police officers to appear at hearings of the IPCC and allowing the IPCC to review what happened at Hillsborough and afterwards provides an opportunity for one of the big injustices — the action of those police officers who broke the law — to be addressed.