After a long-time reading these boards I now feel compelled to register as I think some facts need to be clarified regarding the seriousness of this
First off, since the disaster occurred 23 years ago, safety has improved to a level now whereby the stadiums of professional football clubs are
all-seated and heavily supervised. With that in mind I think any discussion on the type of supervision at the game is irrelevant as games are
generally well policed these days.
The main source of outrage regarding the fallout from the disaster related to a) the incompetency of the South Yorkshire Police, b) the corruption
evidenced between the police and the media (particularly the Sun), and c) the 23 year cover-up, which kept the truth from emerging and has now shown
that the fans were completely innocent. It's these reasons why the Prime Minister and Kelvin McKensie have offered full-blown apologies, whilst the
current Super-intendent of the South-Yorkshire police has admitted he is 'shocked and ashamed'. The now apparent facts are, that systematic failures
and almost non-existent communication within the police on the day were the contributing factors to the disaster, alongside inadequate safety
procedures and a culture of crowd control rather than crowd safety.
These mistakes/decisions did not just occur on the day however. One important, and yet unanswered decision, was the sacking of the experienced
Superintendent Bone under 'highly controversial circumstances', which in all the 400,000 pages of documents no rationale was provided. Bone had dealt
with the crushing incident of 1981 semi-final efficiently, but replacing him was a superintendent who had no previous experience dealing with
challenging crowds. It was later stated that he had 'froze up' in the face of a crisis and made countless errors of judgement.
The report details a disturbing amount of unforgivable mistakes committed over the decade, including not acting on previous crushing incidents at the
same ground (eg. 1981 semi-final), and not improving the safety of the Lepping's Lane terrace to meet the minimum standards of safety. Even more
disturbing, in 1988 a similar incident occurred in which a crush began to become apparent, but in this case the police used their initiative and
allowed fans onto the pitch, avoiding fatalities. Strangely, not only was this viewed as the wrong thing to do by those higher up (as they feared the
effect that pitch invasions had on the reputation of football), but the FA were told in the next year that this match went by without any issue, and
so no safety recommendations were made. Coupled with this, the police were told in the next year not to allow people on the pitch under any
circumstances except medical emergency, effectively removing the ability to use their initiative. This no doubt lead to the fatal delay in police
action and reports of police 'seeming unaware'.
The fact is that the police on the day were not only guilty of criminal negligence, but the idea of the evils of 'hooliganism' was so entrenched in
their minds (hooliganism was a massive issue in the 1980's) that they didn't see it as abnormal to create shocking lies in an attempt to blame the
liverpool fans. The Coroner appeared to attempt to compile evidence to support this right from the start, ordering alcohol tests be conducted on all
fans. Nevertheless, no evidence was found relating a significant levels of intoxication, which provided further evidence against the police testimony
regarding fan behaviour.
Many people are saying justice has been served, but in any democracy having access to a truthful account of an incident should be standard procedure,
justice won't be served until criminal accountibility has been processed.
I've tried to condense this but there is a multitude of further details of incompetency, corruption, and negligence detailed in the report. I hope
this serves as a decent introduction though.
edit on 12-9-2012 by twfau because: (no reason given)