Latest Public Sector News


South Yorkshire police face further questions after Hillsborough verdict

The suspension of the chief constable of South Yorkshire police force after a jury ruled that the 96 Liverpool supporters who died in a crush 27 years ago were killed unlawfully is opening the force up to further scrutiny about historical failings.

David Crompton was suspended last night six months before he was due to retire after it was decided that South Yorkshire police had continued to repeat smears about Liverpool fans during the inquest, despite apologising for police conduct in 2012.

The jury ruled that the 96 fans were killed unlawfully at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield on 15 April 1989 as a result of gross negligence by the police of their duty of care, and that the deaths were caused by major failings in the conduct of police and the construction of the stadium, not the behaviour of fans.

Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, whom PSE interviewed last year, said “My confidence in the chief’s ability to take a grip on the situation was lost”.

South Yorkshire police force has also been criticised for failing to tackle the Rotherham child sexual abuse scandal and for the 1985 Orgreave clash with striking miners.

Although many of the senior officers directly in charge when the events took place are now dead or retired, there is a clear appetite for accountability.

The families of Hillsborough victims and shadow home secretary Andy Burnham have both committed to campaigning for prosecutions.

Home secretary Theresa May said in the House of Commons yesterday that potential charges could follow pending the results of two criminal investigations, for offences including gross negligence, manslaughter, misconduct in public office, perverting the course of justice, perjury and  offences under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Deciding how to apportion the blame for historic offences is a difficult matter morally and legally, but it is vital that full scrutiny of past failings is carried out, justice is dealt transparently and fairly and, above all, that South Yorkshire and other police forces learn from past mistakes. The families who have waited so long for acknowledgement that their loved ones were not to blame for their own deaths deserve nothing less.

(Image: relatives of those who died in the Hillsborough disaster celebrate outside the Hillsborough Inquest in Warrington on Tuesday. C. Owen Humphreys from PA Wire/ Press Association Images)



There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >