I have committed to ensuring that the IPCC has the resource and powers necessary to investigate the findings of the Hillsborough independent panel thoroughly, transparently and exhaustively. The IPCC is working with the Home Office to determine the level of resource it requires and any logistical help that the Department can offer.
Given that the investigation into the Hillsborough disaster will be the biggest and most complex in the IPCC’s history, what assessment has the Minister made of its capability to carry out the job competently? What assurances has he received that give him comfort that the IPCC’s processes will be scrupulous and, importantly, acceptable to the families?
The hon. Gentleman gives many of the more sensitive issues an airing. We have received assurances from Jon Stoddart and from the IPCC that, for example, no officer or investigator employed to work on the investigations will have had any prior connection with the Hillsborough disaster. I have personally checked that those assurances are being met, and I am able to reassure the hon. Gentleman that they are. As he will know, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has promised that the resources will be made available to the IPCC so that it can conduct this investigation as thoroughly as it and, more particularly, the families of the victims of the disaster deserve.
There is a real concern that the IPCC is having to deal with a huge number of complaints, some of which are relatively trivial in the great scheme of things. What mechanism will be put in place to ensure that the IPCC can focus its resources on important and significant cases such as the one that has been raised in questions today?
As I said to Steve Rotheram, in the particular instance of the Hillsborough investigation my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has already made that commitment on resources. There is clearly a wider point about the IPCC’s resources and how it operates, and a statement on that will be made very shortly.