South Yorkshire Police chief constable suspended following Hillsborough inquest


'No choice' but to suspend Crompton

The chief constable of South Yorkshire Police has been suspended in the wake of the Hillsborough inquest findings.

On Tuesday, David Crompton admitted the force got the policing of the match "catastrophically wrong" and "unequivocally" accepted the inquest jury's conclusions.

His suspension comes after the jury found that 96 Liverpool fans were unlawfully killed.

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said he had no choice but to act "based on the erosion of public trust and confidence".

Dr Billings said: "I have been left with no choice other than to suspend David from his duties as chief constable of South Yorkshire police.

"I have reached this decision with a heavy heart following discussions with David both in the run-up to and following the delivery of the Hillsborough verdicts.

"My decision is based on the erosion of public trust and confidence referenced in statements and comments in the House of Commons this lunchtime, along with public calls for the chief constable's resignation from a number of quarters."

His announcement came after shadow home secretary Andy Burnham, who has long campaigned for justice for the Hillsborough victims, called for the chief constable's resignation in the House of Commons.

Andy Burnham

Burnham also called for all those responsible to be held to account for the 96 unlawful deaths and a "27-year cover-up".

Burnham said the jury's conclusions had finally brought justice and there were three reasons why "something so obvious" took 27 years to establish.

He said: "First, a police force (South Yorkshire) which has consistently put protecting itself above protecting people harmed by Hillsborough.

"Second, collusion between that force and complicit print media.

Hillsborough family members
(Joe Giddens/PA)

"Third, a flawed judicial system that gives the upper hand to those in authority over and above ordinary people."

He said that South Yorkshire Police had gone back on its 2012 public apology following the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report and engaged in an "adversial battle" at the fresh inquests.

He said: "Shamefully, the cover-up continued in this Warrington court room. Millions of pounds of public money were spent re-telling discredited lies.

"Lawyers for retired officers threw disgusting slurs; those for today's force tried to establish that others were responsible for the opening of the gate.

Hillsborough family members
(Joe Giddens/PA)

"If the police had chosen to maintain its apology, this inquest would have been much shorter.

"But they didn't and they put the families through hell once again."

Describing the discussion he had with Crompton, Dr Billings said: "We had a very brief conversation and all I could do was say to the chief constable that I was suspending him because I was getting increasingly anxious about the way public trust and confidence was beginning to drain away today, so we had to stop that."

He added that last month the police chief had announced his intention to retire in November, and that the process of replacing him had already begun.

Dr Billings said the new chief constable would need to be "strong and focused", with an "emphasis" on building the trust and confidence of the public.