By Andrew Redmond Barr
Investigations into the conduct of the police forces during the 1989 Hillsborough disaster are being reopened by South Yorkshire Police.
The South Yorkshire force was accused by an independent report of blaming innocent fans for the disaster, and is now voluntarily referring itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission for investigation.

The disaster, which killed 96 people in April 1989, was the result of overcrowding at the beginning of the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Ex-Home Secretary Jack Straw has blamed Margaret Thatcher’s government for creating a “culture of impunity” in the police at the time, but also said he regretted Labour not pushing an investigation far enough during their 1997-2010 term in Downing Street.

“The Thatcher government, because they needed the police to be a partisan force, particularly for the miners strike and other industrial troubles, created a culture of impunity in the police service,” said Mr Straw.

“They really were immune from outside influences and they thought they could rule the roost and that is what we absolutely saw in south Yorkshire.”

One of Thatcher’s closest aides during government, Lord Tebbit, described the comments as “just very, very silly” and said the Thatcher government’s conscience was “clear” with regards to the police.

“I’m astonished that he should divert attention away from what we should really be talking about today, which is how we bring to book those police officers who perverted the course of justice by altering the statements of their colleagues,” he said.

“I was a Home Office minister for five years in the 1980s, I took through Parliament the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, the first time tape recorders and microphones were introduced in police stations to ensure that the police could not fit up defendants by inventing confessions.

“Our conscience is very clear on the police.”

South Yorkshire’s current chief constable said charges should be looked into.  A total of 195 officers who still work for the force were on duty in Hillsborough during the disaster.

Former Conservative MP Sir Irvine Patnick, who was one of the named sources behind The Sun’s controversial coverage of the disaster has said he is “deeply and sincerely sorry” for his part in the scandal.

The Sun ran a headline claiming “The Truth” about the disaster, which made false allegations against Liverpool fans.

The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has said Sir Ivine Patnick’s knighthood “has brought the Honours system into disrepute” and has called for the knighthood to be stripped.

Sir Irvine said: “It is now clear that the information I received from some police officers at the time was wholly inaccurate, misleading and plain wrong.

“However I totally accept responsibility for passing on such information without asking further questions.

“So many years after this tragic event I am deeply and sincerely sorry for the part I played in adding to the pain and suffering of the victims’ families.”


2012-09-14 08:57

The Sun accused fans of pick pocketing the dead and the dying, and attacking the police who were trying to assist the injured! Where does that rank beside phone hacking on the sliding scale of moral decrepitude?
A stitch up by Westminster, the police, and the media, with honours to follow for the good Lords amd Ladies – until the truth comes out and the denials begin. “I knew all about it, but it wasnae me!!”
2012-09-14 10:42

If tebbit think the tories conscience is clear, why did Cameron feel the need to issue an apology ?

That apology would mean more if it came from Thatcher – and if anything I would find myself actually agreeing with Jack Straw on this one – Thatcher was out to undermine all aspects of working life culture, through the rape of our industrial workforce to the selling off of ‘council houses’. Her aim was to eradicate any power that the working classes held.

Hillsborough proved to be another opportunity to do just that.
2012-09-14 11:58

Don’t suppose that an apology from Thatcher now would mean anything considering the speculation over the state of her health.
Saoghal Eile
2012-09-14 13:39

Too much to ask for, too much to apoligise for, but what a joyful thought to think of her apologising for anything. Still proof that only the good die young.
2012-09-14 18:07

Aye and the other injustice is that we will all have no choice but to divvy up for her state funeral.

A bit like the ‘telly tax’.

2012-09-14 13:05

Jack Straw is a despicable individual and a shyster politician. Look no further than the Lockerbie case and Al-Megrahi’s stitch-up aided and abetted by Straw’s refusal to disclose information that would prove his innnocence.

This statement from him in the above article is about the only useful and factual statement he has ever made – but true to form, his usual “it wisnae me” caveat goes in with – “…but also said he regretted Labour not pushing an investigation far enough during their 1997-2010 term in Downing Street”, why not!! He was there, the spineless waste of space that he is.
2012-09-14 13:50

Breeks thats not all the sun also said it was fact that they also urinated on the police, could it get any more degrading for the familes than having to put up with these lies for all those years.…/…
2012-09-14 19:48

Don’t forget the 23 years of ‘Moaning Scousers, why don’t they shut up about bloody Hillsborough?’ in the right-wing press

ituna semea
2012-09-14 20:54

Pretty sad NNS using quotes from Jack Strawman for a headline.
2012-09-15 14:57

CPS ‘told of Hillsborough cover-up 14 years ago’…/…

Senior lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) were handed detailed analysis of the police cover-up of the Hillsborough disaster 14 years ago but decided to take no action against any officers involved, the senior lawyer who led a private prosecution on behalf of the families says today.

In a withering attack on the criminal-justice system in The Independent, Alun Jones, QC says the Director of Public Prosecutions needs to explain why his office did “absolutely nothing” in 1998 after considering a line-by-line analysis of tampered reports by South Yorkshire police.

I wonder who was the Government in 1998… ha yes NuLabour… It certainly looks as if Thatcher was correct when she said “Tony won’t let us down


You must be logged-in in order to post a comment.