The Home Secretary today provided the House of Commons with an update on the investigations into the Hillsborough disaster. During this update some questions were asked which South Yorkshire Police would like to respond to.
A force spokesperson said; “As soon as the IPCC approached South Yorkshire Police requesting police pocket notebooks which may relate to the Hillsborough Disaster, we advised the IPCC that the most thorough of police search techniques led by specially trained officers was required to ensure every last item was recovered and made available to the investigations.
“South Yorkshire Police conducted the search under the supervision of the IPCC. The criteria for this search was set by the IPCC and was for any pocket notebook which predated 1992.
“South Yorkshire Police also conducted a thorough search of the entire police estate.
“The searches led to the recovery of approximately 2500 books dated between 1972 and 2007. Some officers provided numerous books spanning a number of years. The majority of these pocket notebooks will have little or no relevance to the Hillsborough Disaster, however it’s essential the investigators from the IPCC are able to make that decision rather than South Yorkshire Police.
“At all times we made it clear that the Hillsborough Independent Panel could have access to any documents they requested. We adhered to this offer throughout.
“It’s also today been said that South Yorkshire Police was running slurs about alcohol and the cause of the disaster. South Yorkshire Police is not suggesting or implying that there is a link between the blood alcohol levels of the deceased and the cause of the disaster. At the recent pre inquest review, the legal team representing the former match commanders confirmed they would raise the issue of alcohol consumption, this point was also echoed by the legal team representing former members of the Police Federation. The legal team for South Yorkshire Police made no such representations whatsoever and it is misleading for anyone to imply it is the position of the force. The record of the pre Inquest hearing confirms this.
“We wish to reiterate in the strongest terms the direction of Lord Justice Goldring (made as recently as this morning) which makes it clear that all commentators should ensure the accuracy of their remarks to avoid any prejudice at the forthcoming Inquest.”