Hillsborough Disaster - IOPC Final Report - Further Update 9/2/22
Branch Executive members from the five WM Branches met online with IOPC staff on 19th January 2022. The IOPC contingent included the head of the investigation plus the ‘Decision Maker’ who has responsibility for the judgements within the final report relating to the officers and staff involved.
An update was provided on this site on that date, but IOPC has since provided further information which has necessitated changes to the original text, with these being shown in italics below.
- The Decision Maker (Sarah Green) is currently reviewing 156 individual reports comprising either complaints, allegations of misconduct or both against WMP, South Yorkshire and Merseyside officers / staff.
- Those involving WMP officers and staff number 68 complaints and 6 misconduct cases.These figures may fluctuate, dependent upon whether a number of investigations may subsequently be linked together, and that, in some cases where there are sufficient grounds, a complaint may be discontinued.
- The Decision Maker has completed 80 reviews, so far – mainly complaints, and expects to finish her work late Spring.
It is a statutory function for the Decision Maker to consider whether any matter should be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service. In so doing the Decision Maker will always take into account whether a matter has been previously referred, what the outcome of that referral was, and whether any new evidence has come to light since the original referral was made.
Where a complaint has been made and no former officer is under notice of investigation for potential conduct matters, the Decision Maker will decide whether or not the complaint should be upheld. In cases where there are officers under notice, she cannot decide whether complaints are upheld but will express an opinion on whether an officer would have a case to answer for gross misconduct or misconduct, had they still been serving with the police today, or (for relevant ranks) whether an officer’s performance was such that they would have been subject to unsatisfactory performance processes had they still been serving.
- The ‘sanction’ for WMP officers involved will be the wording, “If this officer was still serving, he/she would likely be subject to misconduct / gross misconduct proceedings.”
- All officers vulnerable to such ‘naming’ will have the opportunity to comment on the wording used, and to make representations to IOPC. A separate 'Salmon Process' allows those criticised in the report, but who have not previously had an opportunity to respond, a chance to do so.
- There is no right of appeal, other than via judicial review. However, the Decision Maker will approach all representations about naming or those related to the Salmon process with an open mind. Following careful consideration, she may decide to amend or redact material, or to publish representations received with it, or to reject the representations. Her decisions will be made on a case by case basis.
- The Salmon process is likely to take place during the Summer.
- The final report will first appear on a dedicated Hillsborough website and is likely to comprise 2,500 pages and 3,000 documents accessible via hyperlinks. No date or estimate is currently available.
- A paper document will be published later – possibly some months after the online report is available.
- An IOPC individual, Mark Beales, has responsibility for communicating with those involved from WMP. He will be ascertaining their preferred method – email, letter etc. If necessary and appropriate, IOPC will make personal visits. (The five WM Branch Committee have previously agreed to jointly fund members’ travel if required to attend IOPC HQ.)
- IOPC are fully aware many WMP individuals are vulnerable in terms of age, health etc. and have undertaken to be as empathetic as possible.
- The IOPC is legally required to provide decisions in relation to complaints, and opinions in relation to matters of conduct, even on those cases where the subject of an investigation is deceased. However, the IOPC has some discretion in considering whether it is necessary to name an individual who is deceased. The IOPC will consider the necessity or otherwise of publishing a report where the subject is now deceased. IOPC staff are aware of the sensitivities when dealing with such instances and each will be considered on a case by case basis.