the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police has been forced to apologise for an internal email discussing the way the force should deal with the report from the Hillsborough inquiry.
South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright said he was disappointed with the language used in the email which was sent four days before the Hillsborough panel’s report was published in September.
The email – sent from David Crompton to his Assistant Chief Constable and head of Press and communications – questions whether the force should use its website to publish its apologies and what “amounts to the case for the defence”, against the Hillsborough campaigners’ version of certain events, which had “become the truth, even though it isn’t”.
The email, which came to light following a Freedom of Information request, continued: “I just have the feeling that the media ‘machine’ favours the families and not us, so we need to be a bit more innovative in our response to have a fighting chance otherwise we will just be roadkill.”
In a public apology David Crompton said: “It was never intended to cause any offence and I apologise if it has done so. Nor was it intended to challenge the integrity and views of those who lost loved ones in the Hillsborough Disaster.
“Following the publication of the panel’s report I said in the most forthright terms I supported the findings and that is still my position.”
Mr Wright said he was “shocked” to read the email, and the Home Secretary and Independent Police Complaints Commission were informed.
He added: “I have repeatedly emphasised my commitment to dealing with Hillsborough and its aftermath in an open, honest and transparent manner.
“This is a commitment I reinforced at a recent meeting with representatives of some of the Hillsborough families.
“I was disappointed at the use of such language, even in an internal email, and raised my concerns with the Chief Constable.
“I accept the Chief Constable’s regret for his language in this one particular email and his apology.”