Hillsborough panel sees 'daunting' scale of task

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The Independent Online

The group set up to study previously secret documents relating to the Hillsborough tragedy saw for themselves today the scale of the archive they are set to examine.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel is overseeing the public disclosure of archives held by the emergency services, the city council and other public bodies in Sheffield.

The documents relate to the disaster in April 1989 when 96 Liverpool fans died in a crush at Hillsborough Stadium after going to see their team play Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.

The panel, chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, was set up last year after the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.

Today the group visited the archives in Sheffield to look at where the documents are being held and to talk to staff involved in the project.

The bishop said the archive of around 45,000 boxes of material was "daunting" in its size but he praised the work which has already been done to bring it together and organise it.

The seven members are broadcaster Peter Sissons; public information expert Christine Gifford; TV producer and researcher Katy Jones; Paul Leighton, former deputy chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland; academic criminologist Professor Phil Scraton; Bill Kirkup, former associate medical director at the Department of Health; and archivist Sarah Tyacke.