Socialist Worker

It’s time to demand the truth behind police lies is uncovered

Issue No. 2148

The 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster has led to renewed calls for official documents relating to the day to be made public.

Ninety six people died in a crush after police allowed Liverpool fans to pile into a section of the stadium which was already overcrowded.

No one has ever been prosecuted or even disciplined for the deaths. The only inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The government has made some noises to suggest that it may waive the “30-year rule” – the conventional time period for official documents to be released to the public.

This is the result of massive pressure from below.

Many are rightly outraged that the documents relating to the disaster are not available already. Any early release of documents is, of course, to be welcomed.

But a closer look reveals that this is far from guaranteed.

Some media reports claim that home secretary Jacqui Smith has met with the chief constable of south Yorkshire police, Meredydd Hughes, to “discuss” waiving the 30-year rule.

Yet south Yorkshire police are denying this.

Jacqui Smith says she wants the documents released “as soon as possible”. But Labour has been in power for 12 years – so why are the documents still gathering dust?

Sports minister Andy Burnham has stressed that he doesn’t want “to hold out false hopes” that documents will be released.

The documents could include the official records of emergency services, government departments and local authorities as well as police files.

But because the Freedom of Information Act includes many exemptions, some key documents could still be withheld.

We need to demand more than vague hints from the government. Only when all the documents are released will people have any chance of winning justice.

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What We Think
Tue 21 Apr 2009, 18:29 BST
Issue No. 2148
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