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IPCC expresses concern over Chief Constable’s Hillsborough email

February 26, 2013, 11:33 am

The IPCC has written to the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, David Crompton, to express concerns about the content of an email he wrote in relation to plans for the force’s handling of the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report.

In January 2013 the Police and Crime Commissioner of South Yorkshire, Shaun Wright, wrote to the IPCC when he was made aware of e mails and supporting documents, released under Freedom of Information (FOI) by South Yorkshire Police. These e mails contain correspondence between the Chief Constable and his senior management team. The theme of the correspondence is the force’s preparation for the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report in September 2012.

This was not a referral to the IPCC nor does the material constitute a referral. It was sent to the IPCC on the grounds of ‘transparency’. As such IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long has written to both PCC Wright and Chief Constable Crompton in response to this disclosure.

IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said “The IPCC has considered the content of these emails and documentation carefully. The majority of it raises no issues, but there was, however, one email from the Chief Constable which caused me concern. It referred to preparing what “amounts to the case for the defence” and stated that the “Hillsborough Campaign for Justice’s…version of certain events had become the truth even though it isn’t”. I consider that this is at best ill judged, and at worst offensive and upsetting. I have written to Chief Constable Crompton to express these views.

“Families and individuals affected by the Hillsborough tragedy, along with the wider public, will rightly be concerned over the apparent attitude displayed by this communication within the highest ranks of the force which is currently under investigation in relation to the actions of its officers and staff around the disaster.

“These regrettable actions are now a matter for the Police and Crime Commissioner of South Yorkshire. The IPCC has written to the PCC Wright, to alert him to the fact that, whilst these e mails have serious implications for public confidence, they do not amount to recordable conduct and the IPCC does not require a formal referral. I have indicated to PCC Wright that it is his responsibility to decide what further action is appropriate.”

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