Page last updated 5th October 2013 at 1030hrs
Hillsborough features on a website concerning West Yorkshire Police mostly because of one man: Sir Norman Bettison, disgraced and recently departed from a Force now totally engulfed in corruption scandal.
There are others, at very senior ranks in WYP, such as C/Supt Andy Battle (who claimed as recently as 3rd October that he had never heard of uPSD) and C/Supt Clive Wain (son of the notorious C/Supt Terry Wain who led Bettison and others in the infamous ‘Black Ops’ unit) who were either at Hillsborough on the terrible day or serving elsewhere in South Yorkshire Police. Also, at the heart of our interest is arguably the weakest Chief Constable in the country, currently and we hope temporarily occupying the hot seat at SYP, David Crompton. Who, of course, served as Bettison’s deputy at West Yorkshire Police for six corruption filled years.
A recent FoI has revealed that there are eight West Yorks officers currently serving who were with SYP on 15th April 1989. This troubles uPSD as all eight, some of them promoted well beyond ability by Bettison, must have known all their careers about the force wide cover up at South Yorkshire Police, particularly Wain who ended up on the pitch that fateful afternoon. However, to Wain’s eternal credit he did asist in the pens and with resucitation attempts. What dims that heroism is his subsequent witness statement which is an attempt to blame drunken, ticketless fans and includes an extraordinary claim that Liverpool fans were getting in the way of police rescue attempts. Readers can draw their own conclusions but we will leave the relevant authorities to deal with Wain as they see fit.
It has been a momentous year for the Hillsborough families as the original ‘Accidental death’ verdicts for all 96 victims were quashed at the High Court in London. This finally means that, after 23 years of waiting, the actions of the police, other emergency services, the FA, Sheffield Wednesday FC, Eastwoods the Ground Engineers and Sheffield City Council can be tested before, during and after the disaster occured.
The extraordinary work of the Hillsborough Panel, Chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool and led by the quite brilliant Professor Phil Scraton (pictured top right) was completely endorsed by the Lord Chief Justice, Igor Judge.
The families, including Trevor Hicks (pictured centre) who lost his two daughters aged 14 and 19 in the Disaster were totally exonerated again by the highest legal authority in the land and the road to justice has been cleared a little further along the way. It will be assisted greatly by the formidable, some would say incomparable, presence of Michael Mansfield QC (top left) and Lord ‘Charlie’ Falconer QC as advisors to the Hillsborough families.
There was also an announcement by the Home Secretary on the same day which pulls together and beefs up some of the enquiries that come under the IPCC’s remit. 1,444 officers have already been referred by the toxic South Yorkshire Police and it is understood up to a 1,000 may yet be referred from other police forces. There are believed to be officers from 25 different police forces involved, 11 of whom had officers at the ground. West Yorkshire Police had around a dozen mounted officers on duty plus a sprinkling of other uniform, dog handlers and plain clothes intelligence officers acting as ‘spotters’.
What has been remarkable, in this rollercoaster last month, or so has been the wall of silence from both West Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Police. Both plainly very uncomfortable at what will now surely follow for many at the top of both Forces, exacerbated by the fact that Sir Dan Crompton, father of South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable, David Crompton, has been discovered using disgraceful and inexusable labels concerning the families of the 96. He has steadfastly refused to apologise or even admit wrongdoing. David Crompton was, of course, Bettison’s Deputy and partner in crime at West Yorkshire Police for six years.
In the IPCC monthly updates on Hillsborough there has been a series of quite astonishing revelations mostly centring on more undisclosed material – some of it key to the investigation – and yet more lies by the officers of the South Yorks and West Midlands Police forces.
A further deeply troubling development has been the willingless of West Yorkshire Police’s Head of Information Management, Sue Durham, to lie in FOI responses regarding perfectly legitimate Hillsborough enquiries, both from our own investigative reporter, Neil Wilby, and other journalists from national and regional newspapers. Most notably, Jonathan Corke of the Daily Star who has produced some sensational front-page Hillsborough exclusives over the past few months.
A place in our Rogue Civilians gallery awaits Ms Durham alongside her predecessor, Steve Harding.
The next key date for the Hillsborough families and survivors is a Pre-inquest Hearing in London on October 7th 2013. Full Liverpool Echo story here. It has also been announced that the new inquest will be heard in Warrington on a date to be decided but before 31st March 2014.