Hillsborough cover-up ‘worse than first thought’


The scale of the alleged police cover-up over the Hillsborough disaster was even more wide-ranging than originally believed, it emerged today.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it had uncovered evidence that a further 55 officers had amended their statements following the stadium crush which left 96 Liverpool FC fans dead.

The new discovery is in addition to 164 altered accounts - 116 of which were changed to make them appear more favourable to the police - identified by the Hillsborough Independent Panel last year and which prompted an official public apology by the Prime Minister to the dead fans, their families and the survivors of Britain's worst sporting tragedy.

Among its shocking disclosures, which included the suggestion that 41 of the victims might have survived if they had received adequate medical care on the day of the crush, the panel found evidence that South Yorkshire Police carried out a systematic cover-up to exonerate senior officers and took part in a smear operation to put the blame on fans for being drunk and violent.

In her latest update into the inquiry into the behaviour of South Yorkshire Police, IPCC deputy chair Deborah Glass said investigators would begin interviewing officers later this month. More than 1,000 officers from 20 different forces are expected to feature in the inquiry.

She said the investigating team had been contacted by members of the public identifying potentially significant individuals. It had received 230 pieces of correspondence of which 50 referred to police statements.

"The IPCC knows the people who have contacted us are the tip of the iceberg. Therefore preparations are ongoing for an appeal for witnesses to the disaster and this is expected to be conducted in the autumn," she said.

As well as reviewing the allegations surrounding amendments to statements made by South Yorkshire Police officers who were on duty at the Sheffield Wednesday ground in 1989, the inquiry will examine the role of West Midlands Police which led the original investigation into the disaster.

The probe into the policing of the Hillsborough disaster is the biggest ever undertaken in the history of the IPCC. The police watchdog expects to recruit up to 100 staff to work on the investigation.

A separate team led by former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart is investigating a range of organisations involved in the preparation for the event and what happened on the day.

Fresh inquests into the deaths of the 96 victims are set to begin by March 31 next year in the north west of England. Verdicts of accidental death from the original inquest in March 1991 were quashed last year.

The IPPC said a further two sets of documents not seen by the Hillsborough panel had been located at West Midlands Police headquarters. The force is now carrying out a further trawl of its archives to ensure there are no other records which have yet to come to light. It also emerged that the Home Office had identified a number of other organisations which did not contribute documents to the independent panel and investigators are now seeking to confirm whether they are relevant to the inquiries.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before