UP TO 200 police officers in the UK are to be investigated over the events surrounding the Hillsborough disaster.
The news comes following the publication by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) of their response to last month’s report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel.
It is believed that 164 police statements had been altered following the tragedy, in order to alter negative comments that had been made in relation to how the match had been policed.
A statement from the Deputy Chair of the IPCC, Deborah Glass, said that last month’s report had revealed “extremely serious and troubling issues for the police” and that it was now time for the IPCC and others to complete the investigation.
Further investigation was deemed to be required relating to the amendment of statements that had been made by police following the incident, including “who ordered it, who knew about it, who was involved in the process, and was pressure put on individual officers?”
Attempts to smear those who died in the disaster by suggesting excessive alcohol had been consumed is also to be investigated.
The way in which subsequent investigations into the tragedy were managed by the West Midlands Police are also due to be delved into further.
Misleading information that was passed to media, politicians, and subsequent inquiries are also to be investigated by a “dedicated Hillsborough team,” with Glass saying:
I must stress the scope of our work is not yet clear – and we do not underestimate the size of our task.
Speaking to Sky News, she said:
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.
In a statement from the Crown Prosecution Service, Keir Starmer QC said:
Having read and considered the report published by the Hillsborough Independent Panel on 12 September 2012 and liaised with the Home Office and Independent Police Complaints Commission, I have concluded that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) should consider all the material now available in relation to the tragic events on 15 April 1989, including the material made available by the Independent Panel.
The purpose of this exercise is to identify what the focus of any further criminal investigation should be in order for the CPS to determine whether there is now sufficient evidence to charge any individual or corporate body with any criminal offence. All potential offences that may have been committed and all potential defendants will be considered.