Friday, 12 October 2012

Hillsborough enquiries announced

It was reported today that there will be a far-reaching enquiry into alleged Police misconduct during and after the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster as a result of the findings published by the Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP) report in September 2012. Deborah Glass, from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), announced what would undoubtedly be the biggest ever enquiry carried out into possible misconduct by the police  in the UK. Up to three Police forces could now be investigated for not only the initally woeful crowd mismanagement that caused the disaster, but also how attempts were made to cover up failings on the day by the police and other agencies, and how there were 'attempts to distort the truth' (which led to false implications that fans were somehow responsible for the tragedy). It also looks increasingly likely that there may be an application for new inquests into how the victims died, as their families were never happy with the original verdicts, especially after the HIP report revealed that up to 41 of the 96 victims had the 'potential to survive', but insufficent attempts were made to revive them.

This announcement is clearly good news for the survivors and families, and Margaret Aspinall (mother of one of the victims- James Aspinall) was reported as saying,  "We've had the truth. This is the start of the justice". This may be a long process, but hopefully it will result in the justice that has been denied the victims and their families for so long. I also hope that this enquiry will also look into the deeply pathological and pervasive view of football crowds that I believe contributed to a deep culture of distrust between football fans and the police. This culture created an environment in which crowd safety at football matches took secondary importance to crowd control, which was at least in part responsible for the tragedy.  In my last blog entry, I looked at how such distrust of crowds was behind crowd management strategies at Hillsborough, and I think exploring how these approaches informed tactics that contributed to the disaster could help educate those involved in crowd safety management to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again

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