Hillsborough disaster - IPCC announce serving and retired police officers could face charges

Sir Norman Bettison
Sir Norman Bettison

CRIMINAL charges could be brought against serving and former police officers over their role in the Hillsborough disaster.

Today the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the Director of Public Prosecutions announced they will both investigate possible crimes committed by the police.

The IPCC will look at whether officers covered up failings by South Yorkshire Police force.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, will review evidence relating to how the 96 fans died in the 1989 tragedy.

Deborah Glass, deputy chairwoman of the IPCC said: “The IPCC will work with the Director of Public Prosecutions, and any Coroner appointed to hear fresh inquests, to carry out any further investigation that may be required before or after any new inquests are held, and identify the appropriate body to investigate any individual or entity we cannot.

“I must stress the scope of our work is not yet clear – and we do not underestimate the size of our task.

“We do not yet know how many officers or retired officers fall to be investigated for the various matters we have identified, how many are still serving or still alive.

“Work will continue to identify individuals and their circumstances, and what potential offences require investigation.

“We can investigate both criminal and misconduct offences after an officer has retired, though retirement prevents any misconduct sanction. We are continuing to review the underlying documentation in the report and other conduct matters may come to light.”

Last month the Hillsborough Independent Panel revealed that 164 police statements had been altered.

Of those 116 had negative comments about the policing of the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forrest at the Sheffield stadium removed or changed.

Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire, is facing two probes by the IPCC.

He was referred to the watchdog in September over claims he gave misleading information in the aftermath of the disaster.

And on Wednesday a second referral was made by West Yorkshire Police following claims Sir Norman had tried to influence their decision-making process in relation to the Hillsborough allegations.