13 Oct 2012

Probe into police failings in Hillsborough disaster

6:06 am on 13 October 2012

An independent probe into British police has begun into potential criminal actions by officers in the Hillsborough soccer disaster in 1989.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission says serving and former officers could face charges for failings and cover-ups over the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans who were crushed to death during a match in the city of Sheffield.

Last month, the Prime Minister apologised to families of the victims after an independent panel found the police response to the disaster had been flawed and there was also evidence the police tried to deflect blame onto the Liverpool fans.

The tragedy changed the face of English soccer and ushered in a new era of modern, all-seated venues.

An independent panel found the police response to the disaster had been flawed and 41 lives could have been saved.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer will review evidence relating to how the 96 fans died, which could lead to charges of manslaughter through gross negligence.

Meanwhile, the IPCC said it would look at whether there was a criminal cover-up by South Yorkshire Police of failings by the force.

The Hillsborough Family Support Group said it was "too good to be true".

"We have more waiting ahead of us but we have had 23 years of waiting," said chairwoman Margaret Aspinall, whose son died in the disaster.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said:

"The families have waited 23 years to obtain justice and this announcement sets the wheels in motion at long last.

"I sincerely hope that no stone will be left unturned in delivering the outcome that the families deserve."