British police apologized on Tuesday, January 31, to the families of the ninety-seven victims of the Hillsborough tragedy in a stadium in 1989, unveiling reforms for more transparency. “For what happened, as a senior police official, I offer my deepest apologies. Policing has gone really bad”admitted Tuesday, Andy Marsh, director general of the College of Policing, which federates the various police forces of the United Kingdom.
“The police have deeply failed in their obligations towards the bereaved”he also said, almost thirty-four years after the terrible crowd movement in this Sheffield stadium on April 15, 1989, on the occasion of the semi-final of the FA Cup between Liverpool at Nottingham Forest. “Police failures were the main cause of the tragedy and have continued to blight the lives of family members ever since. »
As Liverpool supporters thronged the turnstiles as kick-off approached, security had a door opened leading to their wing to ease the pressure. But the fans had rushed to an already overcrowded stand.
The crowd movement had initially led to the death of ninety-four people, compressed against the grids at the edge of the field before two other people succumbed. In 2021, a 97e victim was officially recognized, died thirty-two years after being seriously injured in Hillsborough.
Police officers in England will sign a charter
In 2017, a report commissioned by the government made twenty-five recommendations for families to obtain justice. Among them, eleven concerned the police.
Five years after that report, police said on Tuesday that all police officers in England would sign a charter stressing that they “must recognize when mistakes have been made and must not seek to defend the indefensible”. “Police officials pledged today to respond to any major incident with transparency and compassion for the families involved”reacted Martin Hewitt, one of the chiefs of the British police.
For the families concerned, this is insufficient. “The apology, while welcome, makes no reference to a change in the law”, reacted a spokeswoman for Hillsborough Law Now, an association of victims. The group is campaigning for the creation of a “legal franchise obligation” for authorities and public officials.