A CAMPAIGNER for justice following the Hillsborough disaster said it was “insensitive” to use crowd control barriers for an FA Cup game at the Sheffield stadium this weekend.
Margaret Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the football tragedy in 1989 when Liverpool took on Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final, said she could not understand why police were testing the use of the barriers.
South Yorkshire Police and Sheffield Wednesday announced they were trying out the new barriers for the cup game against West Ham tomorrow.
It was chosen as a trial ahead of the potentially explosive derby match against Sheffield United next month.
Mrs Aspinall, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: “I am quite disappointed about this.
“I think it is very insensitive, especially as they are doing it for an FA Cup game.
“I don’t understand why they are doing this and I am really angry about it.”
She said she felt using the barriers at the same Leppings Lane end where 96 Liverpool fans received fatal injuries was particularly insensitive.
Liverpool fans were crushed to death and many could not escape as they were penned in by fences surrounding the pitch.
Police announced on Thursday they would test the use of the barriers on the approach to the Leppings Lane away end of the ground.
They said “These barriers are to be trialled and then considered for use at the steel city derby in February.
“We do not anticipate any crowd control issues at the match v West Ham United, but this match is an opportunity to test the barriers in situ at a match where a large away support is expected before derby day in February.”
The barriers have already been used at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground earlier this season.
South Yorkshire Police (SYP) said they used “a variety of nationally approved tactics to police large events”.
A spokeswoman said: “SYP, along with other police forces throughout the country, have been using crowd control barriers at football matches and other public events for a few years.
“The barriers are used at other South Yorkshire stadiums, most recently at a local derby, but this will be the first time the barriers have been prepared to be used at the Hillsborough grounds.
“The force’s priority is to maintain public safety and the barriers or mounted officers are only used outside the grounds to guide the public safely away from the area.”