All police forces respond to ‘89 disaster information request

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Police forces appear to be taking requests for Hillsborough evidence seriously, a Liverpool MP said, after all 43 in England and Wales responded to the watchdog.

Home Secretary Theresa May wrote to the chief constable of every English and Welsh force in March to request they searched their records to find out if they possessed any material related to the 1989 tragedy in which 96 people died.

Mrs May said she understands all have replied to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is assessing the responses.

Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram (Labour), who asked Mrs May for the update, said: “It’s encouraging in as much as it appears at long last these forces are taking requests seriously and that’s not always been the case.”

Mr Rotheram said he was waiting to see exactly what information had been disclosed by the forces.

The IPCC is conducting an investigation which focuses largely on police actions after the tragedy.

The disaster happened during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium on April 15 1989.

Aside from the IPCC investigation, former Durham chief constable Jon Stoddart is leading Operation Resolve, a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Mrs May, in reply to Mr Rotheram’s written parliamentary question, said: “The purpose of the letter was to assist the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and Operation Resolve in recovering any material which had not already been provided.

“I understand that all forces have now responded to the IPCC and I am aware that the IPCC is currently assessing these responses. I am expecting a full report from them in due course.”

Mr Rotheram had asked Mrs May which police forces “handed over evidence relating to the Hillsborough disaster and contacted the Independent Police Complaints Commission to inform it that they did not have any evidence relating to the Hillsborough disaster”.

An IPCC spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that all police forces have responded to the IPCC following the Home Secretary’s letter about Hillsborough documents.”