South Yorkshire Police (SYP) is in crisis following the Hillsborough inquests. A jury last week found that 96 fans who died as a result of the 1989 football disaster were unlawfully killed. Former SYP chief superintendent David Duckenfield could face prosecution.
SYP chief constable David Crompton was suspended last week following the inquest decisions. Deputy chief constable Dawn Copley took his place. But she stood down hours later after it emerged she had been accused of “corrupt practice” while with Greater Manchester Police.
Crompton’s suspension was due to an “erosion of trust”. He apologised over Hillsborough in 2012. Yet the force appeared to have gone back on this with SYP lawyers dredging up old lies about fans during the inquests.
And in a statement after the inquests SYP said its failings “had to be put into the context of other contributory factors”. It did not say what these were.
Mark George QC was one of the barristers representing 22 families in the inquests. He told Socialist Worker, “It’s good that Crompton has been suspended. But we’re calling for him to be sacked.”
Sheila Coleman from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (HJC) agreed. “The suspension is a sop to public opinion to make it look like they are doing something,” she said.
“When the establishment is caught out, it very quickly reorganises to protect its own.”
Crompton previously called those campaigning for justice over Hillsborough liars. In an email he whined that campaigners’ “version of certain events has become the truth even though it isn’t!!”
The email was sent days before an independent panel reported on the disaster. Crompton talked of police preparing what “amounts to the case for the defence”.
The cops continue to defend themselves.
SYP did a “good job” in the 1980s according to an organisation for retired officers. Rick Naylor, secretary of the South Yorkshire National Association of Retired Police Officers, posted a message on the group’s website.
It said, “There were many examples of outstanding actions and selflessness by police officers” on the day of the Hillsborough disaster. You did a good job.”
The claim came the day after thousands took to the streets of Liverpool to commemorate victims of the disaster—and it added to the fury among survivors, families and campaigners.
“Did a good job for who?” asked Sheila. “Maybe they did for their masters. They certainly didn’t for the public. To try and protect the force after the inquest’s decisions is a further indication that nothing has really altered.
“The HJC calls on those senior officers who were involved in the Hillsborough scandal to lose their pensions with immediate effect.”
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