The Independent Police Complaints Commission is calling for witnesses who were at Hillsborough and gave their accounts to police to come forward as part of its investigation into the aftermath of the disaster.
The investigation, which is the biggest undertaken into police conduct in England and Wales, is examining police actions following the stadium disaster. This includes how West Midlands Police, the force appointed to accumulate evidence for Lord Justice Taylor’s inquiry and the subsequent inquests, conducted its inquiries.
It is known that thousands of members of the public gave witness accounts to West Midlands Police, either in writing, via telephone or in face-to-face interviews.
The IPCC wishes to speak with these people to understand more about their experiences and the process they went through.
If you gave an account to West Midlands Police, the IPCC would like to hear from you. A dedicated online witness appeal form can be found at www.ipcc.gov.uk/Hillsborough-witness-appeal.
If you do not have access to the internet, or need assistance in completing the form, call 0300 200 0003.
Deborah Glass, Deputy Chair of the IPCC, said: “The publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel and the unstinting determination of the families and survivors of Hillsborough families and survivors has set in motion the biggest criminal investigation into police misconduct in the history of England and Wales.”
“As part of this, we are looking for the help of those people who were at the game as we examine how West Midlands Police conducted its investigation into the disaster.
“We want to hear from anyone who contributed to that investigation. If you gave an account what was your experience? Do you believe you were given the opportunity to reflect your experience at Hillsborough?
“We are not underestimating how incredibly difficult it will be to revisit the traumatic events of 15 April 1989 for survivors. For many, it was the worst day of their lives. We also understand it will be difficult for many people to trust us, after being let down so many times.
“However, it is a tremendously important part of the investigation and we can only do this with the help of those witnesses.
To read more about the IPCC’s Hillsborough investigation, click here.
The Hillsborough Investigation
On 12 October 2012, the IPCC launched an independent investigation into allegations of police misconduct or criminal behaviour during the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report. This investigation is looking specifically at amendments to statements, the actions and conduct of South Yorkshire Police officers after the disaster, the role of West Midlands Police and those who investigated what happened at the time.
Operation Resolve is a strand of the Hillsborough Investigation being led by former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart. This part of the investigation is looking at the events leading up to the match at Hillsborough, as well as the disaster itself. A range of organisations will be investigated as part of Operation Resolve such as Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, The Football Association, South Yorkshire Ambulance Service. South Yorkshire Police will also be investigated by Operation Resolve, and the IPCC is managing this part of their work, providing oversight.
Both investigations will run separately, but work closely alongside one another, as well as with agencies such as the Crown Prosecution Service and the Coroner, in preparation for the new inquests set for March 2014.