Thursday, 13 September 2012


No doubt this morning all of us, and especially those of us involved with the criminal justice system in this country, will be coming to terms with the astonishing revelations from the Hillsborough Independent Panel, and the resulting fulsome apology to the victims families from prime minister David Cameron. 

It will be recalled that all normal judicial processes had failed utterly to get to the truth and it is only because of the tenacity and determination of the victims families that virtually all official bodies felt obliged to finally come clean and hand over 400,000 documents to the Panel. Only the Sun Life Assurance Company refused, along with Liverpool Law Society.  

The full ramifications of the whole sorry saga will continue for years to come, but at least and at last we all have no alternative but to finally appreciate the sheer scale of the disaster and the consequent appalling cover-up by official bodies, most crucially South Yorkshire Police. So I suspect I might not be alone in turning to the police for their reaction.

Not surprisingly the current Chief Constable has been quick to make a fulsome apology, whilst both distancing himself from any knowledge and stating how different things are now. A previous Chief Constable says he did his best to tackle the culture of secrecy, but had no knowledge of the cover-up and smear campaign.

Somewhat understandably, senior officers serving at the time are not available for comment, so we must turn to self-appointed and hugely popular spokespersons for the police such as Inspector Gadget. Normally quick to respond to current issues affecting the police, so far there has been silence. However, I note that less well known The Thinking Policeman has been quick to respond and I commend him/her for that. I quote:-

"The Hillsborough tragedy might be one best left off topic for many but I will say my piece regarding the Bishop of Liverpool's report.

I can understand the demand from the families of victims that they want answers as to how their loved ones died. I can understand that they want to apportion blame. Personally, I don't doubt those that died were totally blameless. They would almost certainly have been in the ground some time before the crush started.

I can understand the concerns about the safety of the ground before the match. I can understand the concerns regarding the emergency response after the crush. To hear that many victims might have survived had they had better medical care must be distressing. I can understand concerns that police officers statements were amended to remove criticism of the police management of the response.

What I do not accept is the key finding of the report that Liverpool fans were not the cause of the disaster. The quest for the truth regarding this incident has now reached Orwellian proportions. It now appears there were no drunken fans: no ticket less fans and the fans have no responsibility for using so much force to push their way into the ground that nearly 100 people were crushed to death.

A society where individuals have no responsibility for their actions and where authorities are now routinely blamed for failing to prevent or manage those actions is a very unhealthy society."

If this is representative of current front line police thinking on what was revealed yesterday, we really do have a much bigger problem than many of us thought. 

PS Since publishing the above, Inspector Gadget has posted his comments and an apology. 



  1. I think we can be pretty sure that if Inspector Gadget had a blog all those years ago he would have been blaming the fans.

    Today he is blaming the SMT, anything to deflect attention from his beloved response team.

  2. You can't think of a crowd as a collection of individuals. The ones at the back were pushing to get in unaware of what was happening up front. The ones at the front were trapped. And the police had opened the gate they were trying to pass through.

  3. I seem to recall that some of the "fans" charged, and broke down at least one of the entry gates, a not unknown method of gaining free entry to matches, and not confined to Liverpool.

    A couple of blogs, both claiming association with and knowledge of Liverpool tend to support that officer:, one of today's posts.

    Must admit that when I was listening to reports of the findings of this enquiry my mind kept thinking that it was just another whitewash, but in the opposite direction.

    Don't know obviously but I reckon that copper is right. The fans as a body are a long way from being blameless.

    1. Thanks for pointing out these two excellent posts. I agree that any re-opened inquests should have the benefit of as many statements as possible from people at the scene on the day. Getting to 'the truth' is going to take a lot longer and I suspect will involve the need to separate out what happened on the day from the subsequent cover-up.

  4. What concerns me about this 'revelation' (it wouldn't have been to those who were there) is its similarity to the Bloody Sunday inquiries and, less well publicised, the 'management' of information relating to the miners strikes in the 1980s (e.g. the presence of strikers that none of the miners knew, police officers not wearing their numbers and wearing army boots etc). In short, it would appear that people should not be so quick to trust their Governments and their representatives, even after inquiries have taken place.

    The trouble is, those who go through these things are perfectly well aware of where the blame lies and it is astonishingly arrogant for the authorities to continue with the charade for decades when people are repeatedly saying 'no, it did NOT happen like that'.

    It makes you wonder how many other important events involving politicians, civil servants, local government etc are covered up, denying a voice to those most affected and doing untold harm to the communities involved.

  5. Jim

    I vividly recall attending the semi -final betw Manu -Derby in the mid-70s @ Hillsboro'...I was however one of at least 3 k Manu fans locked out & despite some innovative ways of entering the ground the SYPolice batted off all att to assail the for critically informed acccounts of the disaster .. I would recommmend ..Prof Phil Scraton's bk

    Lets hope that the nxt encounter betw L/pool & Man utd -in 2 wks time can consign the hateful banter to another era?



  6. To the old Coodger
    If you had ever been to a game you would Know that it is nigh on inpossable to breakdown a turnstile and inpossable to be stormed by a gang as they are only wide enough for one person at a time to access

    Dukenfield orders an exit gate to be open. WHY to relive the crush that has built up in front of the leppings lane turnstiles.Why/How has this happened ?.South yorkshire police failed in their primery function of CROWD CONTROL in leppings lane.Despite requestes from a merseyside mounted police officer on duty in leppings lane no attempt was made by south yorkshire police to form the arriving fans into a Q down leppings lane resulting in a mass of people streching across the 8 tunstile access and as more arrived and the police stood to aside the crush got bigger.To say that a contributry factor was the late arrival of large numbers of fans (can 45min be classed as late)is also a none starter,if these fans had arrived 2 hours earlier and their was no orginised police Q the same will happen just earlier. South Yorkshire Police Faild to carry out their main function the care of those under their control.
    PS.What part did Merseyside Chief Constable Ken OXFORD play in the cover up.
    TWO Days after debriefing merseyside officers who were at Hillsborough and had told him of the failings of the police he met with the witch.Result. He toed the police line and blamed drunken ticketless fans for the tragerdy.INVESTIGATE KEN OXFORD