Independent Police Complaints Commission
Monthly Update - October 2014
West Midlands Police
We are continuing to review responses from the witness appeal and contact those people who have identified issues with West Midlands Police. In addition, Operation Resolve continue to check whether the information provided can assist with the managed investigation that is looking at police actions on the day of the disaster.
We have completed initial analysis of over 8,000 investigative tasks that were allocated to West Midlands Police officers and logged on the force’s HOLMES system. HOLMES is an electronic database used by criminal inquiries to track investigative activities and record evidence. Each of these tasks – known as ‘actions’ – were compared to paper copies that were held by the force to check whether they contained any additional information. The aim is to establish any trends among the types of tasks that were allocated, how these tasks were carried out and the evidence they generated.
This work, along with the accounts obtained through the witness appeal, allows us to identify any patterns of behaviour.
Research around the force’s Major Incident Room (MIR) set up initially to support the Taylor Inquiry, but which also serviced the original inquests and criminal investigation, is also underway. A MIR is the administrative hub of a criminal investigation which handles and records evidence. The briefings and instructions given to MIR staff will be examined, along with the processes involved in gathering and compiling files of evidence.
We are continuing to interview families and campaigners about allegations that they were placed under police surveillance.
Out of the 24 family members who made allegations, we have completed 16 interviews. One complaint has since been withdrawn. These interviews have generated further lines of enquiry which we continue to work though.
Lines of enquiry around South Yorkshire Police
We are using the evidence gathered from interviews conducted with South Yorkshire Police officers to paint a picture of the staffing structure that was put in place by the force after the disaster. We are also using this evidence to develop a thorough understanding of the processes and procedures that were followed around handling officers’ accounts. In addition, there are lines of enquiry around plain-clothed police officers on duty on the day of the disaster to establish the level of their involvement afterwards.
Police interaction with media and politicians
Work continues to progress around establishing what information was given to the media and politicians after the disaster.
Interviews with former and current Sheffield Star journalists who reported on the disaster are progressing well. The focus will now turn to obtaining and analysing coverage of the disaster from the regional and national media, including broadcast outlets, as well as speaking to the relevant journalists and production staff.
We are continuing to interview politicians and civil servants who we believe received briefings about Hillsborough from police officers. We are currently following lines of enquiry around those politicians who were shown a video at a meeting in the House of Commons in the months after the disaster.
Managed investigation update
The IPCC continues to manage the aspect of Operation Resolve’s investigation that relates to police involvement in the preparation of the match and on the day itself, providing day to day direction and oversight of these enquiries. Operation Resolve is also providing coroner Lord Justice Goldring’s team with material and documentation for the inquests. In order to ensure that there is no prejudice to that process, we are limited in the details we can provide about the managed investigation while the inquests are ongoing.
In addition to the review of the 1700 responses to the witness appeal, interviews with spectators who attended semi final matches at Hillsborough in 1981, 1987, 1988 continue to progress. So far 194 of these interviews have been completed and further witnesses continue to be identified and contacted.
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