26 April 2016
Police Federation: Hillsborough inquest verdicts
The Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents police constables, sergeants and inspectors, is pleased that the Hillsborough inquests have concluded.
Following today’s verdict of unlawful killing at the Warrington inquest, Neil Bowles, Chair of South Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “We are pleased that the inquests have reached their conclusion and grateful to the jury for helping to bring some answers to the many people affected by the Hillsborough tragedy. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with the families and friends of the 96 people who lost their lives.”
The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police said today that South Yorkshire Police got the policing of the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough ‘catastrophically wrong.’
Mr Bowles said: “Our members – ordinary officers - went to work that day in 1989 expecting a normal day, policing a football match, but walked into an unfolding disaster. They did their best and did their jobs in incredibly difficult circumstances on that day: they followed orders, and did what they were commanded to do by senior officers.
“When there were gaps in that command, they used their initiative to try to save lives. Today’s policing standards – such as strict procedures, improved equipment and health and safety standards – were simply not in place 27 years ago, nor indeed the current ability and frameworks for junior officers to question senior officers’ decisions.
“The officers we represent co-operated fully with the investigations and we have always been clear that what we wanted, above all, was to get to the truth of what happened on that day for all those concerned.
“We recognise the prolonged agony endured by the families. We also recognise that this was exacerbated by various accounts from some areas, comments which were deeply upsetting to the families. Nothing can turn the clock back and we know that more answers will be needed as the outcome of the inquests sink in. However we hope that today’s outcome gives all those involved the final truth about what happened on that day. We must ensure lessons of the past are learned and that nothing like this ever happens again.
“As a staff association, representing rank and file officers we will continue to support our members in making sure that this is recognised and hope that they, too, can now try to move on from this horrific tragedy.”