Theresa May (Home Secretary; Maidenhead, Conservative)
My hon. Friend raises an important point. I am coming on to talk about the investigations that will take place into the actions of South Yorkshire police,
and obviously the issue that he has raised—the sanctions—is rightly something that should be considered alongside those investigations.
Let me return to the actions of the police. Perhaps even more shockingly, the panel also found evidence showing that officers carried out police national computer checks on those who had died. The panel said this was done in an attempt
“to impugn the reputations of the deceased”.
The whole House will want to join me in thanking the Bishop of Liverpool and all members of the panel for their thorough and revealing report. The panel’s report was shocking and disturbing, and the families of the victims must have found its contents harrowing. But although it is painful and will make many people angry, the report brings the full truth of Hillsborough into the light of day. The truth that some families have long known or suspected is now clear for all to see and to respect. I believe my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister spoke for all of us in the House when he apologised to the families of the 96 for what he called the “double injustice” that they have suffered: first, the injustice of the appalling events and the indefensible wait to get to the truth; and secondly, the injustice of what he called the “denigration of the deceased”—the suggestion that those who died were somehow responsible for their own deaths and for those of their friends and fellow fans.
But after the truth must come justice; and after the apology, accountability. So let me set out for the House what is happening now. The Independent Police Complaints Commission has announced an investigation into the panel’s findings. The investigation will cover potential criminality and misconduct in respect of police officers, both serving and retired. It will be thorough and wide-ranging. As I have previously said, I remain committed to ensuring that the IPCC has all the powers and resources it needs to carry out its investigations thoroughly, transparently and exhaustively. The Government are already looking at what additional powers the IPCC will need, which includes proposals to require current and ex-police officers who may be witness to a crime to attend an interview, and whether this might require fast-track legislation. I therefore welcome what the shadow Home Secretary set out at the weekend about the opportunity for us to sit down and discuss the proposals, and to see whether fast-track legislation is the right way forward—I think my office has already been in touch with hers to try to get a suitable date in mind.