Hillsborough victims’ families expecting to oversee twin inquiries

Relatives have been offered a “challenge panel” which is intended to allow them unprecedented rights to oversee the police and the IPCC investigations

Hillsborough families have told chief prosecutor Kier Starmer that they expect to have “meaningful oversight” of the two inquiries into the disaster.

The families were promised a role in the investigations in the wake of last year’s Hillsborough Panel report which concluded there had been a major cover up by police and others to avoid the blame for the crush which killed 96 football fans.

Relatives have been offered a “challenge panel” which is intended to allow them unprecedented rights to oversee the police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigations.

However, at a meeting in Warrington today families expressed concern to Mr Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions in England and Wales, and Dame Anne Owers, chairman of the IPCC, that the panel’s terms of reference have not even been decided.

Shiela Coleman, who represents the Hillsborough Justice Campaign told the ‘i’ that the families had “pushed” Mr Starmer and Dame Anne for the panel’s terms of reference to be decided quickly.

“Time is going on. It’s a year now since the report and we can’t just let it ride,” she said. “We want it to have teeth. We want it to have meaningful terms of reference. We want the panel to be able to report back anything it’s not happy with.

“It all centres around transparency and accountability. We will push for this until we get better systems in place, until we do get agencies that are accountable and can be trusted.”

Lawyers representing the campaign group issued a statement welcoming the creation of the oversight panel but expressing concern at continued delays in the fight for justice for the families.

“We are pleased to see that the challenge panel is finally to be set up,” the group said in a statement released by Elkan Abrahamson, Jackson and Canter Solicitors.

“However delay remains a concern. The Terms of Reference are not yet finalised. It is not clear what documents the panel will be allowed to see. All we ask for is scrutiny to ensure that the IPCC and the police act with integrity and expedition.”

As the DPP was meeting Hillsborough families it emerged that Richard Whittam QC, First Senior Treasury Counsel, had advised Mr Starmer against including Professor Phil Scraton on the challenge panel due to the risk to any potential prosecutions. The professor was the lead author of last year’s report and has been vocal in his criticisms of police and IPCC failings.

The former Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, is expected to be appointed chairman of the challenge panel. Other members, the I understands, be of former appeal court judge Sir Stephen Sedley, criminologist Dr Silvia Casale, and policing expert Professor Roger Graef.

Plans to stage a musical about Hillsborough titled ‘Their Scarves Were Red’ has been scrapped by the Unity Theatre in Liverpool. A spokesman said the timing of the production and strong feelings of the local community meant it would be “appropriate” to host the show.

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

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower