Hillsborough: Chief constable 'not expected to return to post'


The head of South Yorkshire Police said he does not envisage its chief constable returning to his post after suspending him in the wake of the Hillsborough inquest findings, according to reports.

Alan Billings, SYP's police and crime commissioner, previously said he felt no choice but to suspend David Crompton in the face of a wave of public anger after a jury found the 96 victims of the disaster had been unlawfully killed.

The force came under fire in the House of Commons on Wednesday, led by shadow home secretary Andy Burnham, who accused the force of "protecting itself above protecting people".

Home Secretary Theresa May raised concerns over SYP's response to the jury's findings and praised the victims' relatives for their "steel and determination".

Mr Burnham called for the chief constable's resignation, saying the families had been "through hell again" during the longest jury case in British legal history.

He said that millions of pounds of public money had been used to continue a "cover-up" and retell "discredited lies against Liverpool supporters".

Dr Billings announced the chief constable's suspension on Wednesday shortly after hearing the statements in the Commons. The commissioner later told The Guardian that Mr Crompton, who is reportedly due to retire in November, would not return to his job before then.

"I am not envisaging the chief constable returning," he said.

Dr Billings earlier said his decision had been based on "the erosion of public trust and confidence" in the force resulting from the public backlash and criticism in the Commons.

After hearing news of the suspension Margaret Aspinall, who lost her son James in the 1989 tragedy, said they were on the "right track".

"Let's hope that is only the beginning of what is going to be done," she added.

SYP and the South Yorkshire Ambulance service, as well as a number of individuals including David Duckenfield, match commander on the day of the disaster, could face criminal proceedings over the deaths.

The Crown Prosecution Service is expected to receive files of evidence at the end of the year before considering whether to bring charges.

Mrs Aspinall said the people of Liverpool had endured 27 years of sleepless nights in their pursuit of justice as she addressed a commemorative service held outside St George's Hall in the city, where the names and ages of each of the victims were read.

At the close of the inquest on Tuesday the jury found that blunders by South Yorkshire's police and ambulance services "caused or contributed to" the deaths as a result of the disaster at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

The jury also concluded that Liverpool fans were not to blame for what happened.

Following the verdict, Mr Crompton admitted the force got the policing of the match "catastrophically wrong", and "unequivocally" accepted the inquest's conclusions.

He previously apologised in 2012 after the damning Hillsborough Independent Panel report concluded a major cover-up had taken place in an effort by police and others to avoid the blame for what happened.

In a statement released on Wednesday SYP said it had not sought to defend its failures in the final inquest, but added: "Nevertheless, these failures had to be put into the context of other contributory factors."

Mrs May said the jury had delivered a "very clear verdict" and urged the force to recognise it.