Now that those who were responsible for the Hillsborough Football tragedy have finally been identified people are questioning, What Next? In 1989, 96 people died and 766 were injured before a football match began. Trouble flared as the fans scrambled to gain access to the ground. Incompetent leadership in the police force working at the Hillsborough ground meant fans were delayed entry. When they were at last able to enter the ground it was a free for all. The police force involved failed to do their job.
After the event media sources lambasted the fans and cast a slur on those fans at the match and Liverpudlians in general. The Liverpool and Nottingham Forest match scheduled for April 15, 1989, never occurred. Instead the pitch was a makeshift mortuary and hospital.
As fans, many very young, began to get crushed help was slow to arrive. Ambulances were delayed access to the pitch and the dying. The final death toll could have been halved had the rescue operation been handled properly.
All in all a terrible event. No person or authority held responsible, yet. Simply the fans blamed for many actions which have now been shown to be lies. Lies perpetrated by police officers. Police as civil servants are bought and paid for by the people. That makes this case all the more tragic.
So now that the apologies are flowing fast and those who were either responsible for the tragedy or who added to its impact have been identified who will pay, and how? Ex Chief Constable Ruchard Wells who led the South Yorkshire Police Force involved in the Hillsborough disaster has said a criminal investigation must be lauched. He led that police force from 1990 until 1998. He has said that charges are an absolute essential.
For the injured, the dead and the loved ones of those affected, persons or a person will have to pay so that they can have some closure. The open wound of Hillsborough has been left unable to heal for too long already. More than 23 years in fact. It will never resolve without accountability.
Some of those responsible will continue to try and wriggle off the hook but they must not be allowed to do so. They were quick enough to blame others.
News that police witness statements were amended and lies were circulated and reinforced has implications for us all. The police involvement in Hillsborough has to be addressed. If not any remaining faith in the police force will be lost completely. The corrupt, bad apples, need removing so that they cannot contaminate the newer, untainted models.
Former Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw has claimed that the Tory government of the day was complicit in the Hillsborough tragedy, as it needed "partisan" support from the police. Certainly Maggie Thatcher's government of 1989 wanted a police force that was on its side. The same officers were used to smash the British coal mining union, strikes and Miners. UK Police Officers bragged at the time how much money they were being paid to crush the miners. New cars, house moves and vacations for members of the police force were paid for by overtime payments received for breaking the miners strike. It was not about money for Maggie's government but more about muscle flexing and the destruction of an industry. he and her Ministers were prepared to pay dearly to do this.
Today's Tories have said Jack Straws claims are silly and wrong but sadly they are not beyond belief. We may never truly know. We do however know the truth now about Hillsborough. The problem now is what are we going to do about it?