[The following are a few sentences from Martin Ivens’s column (behind the paywall) in today’s edition of The Sunday Times:]
The Hillsborough disaster not only brought out the worst in the police on duty in South Yorkshire that day in April 1989 but also establishment indifference. The families and friends of the 96 people who died have had to wait 23 years for the full truth to be told.
It is now confidently asserted by senior officers that the police have cleaned up their act: Hillsborough could never happen again. Are they right? The initial refusal to hold an inquiry into the killing by armed policemen on the London Underground of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent Brazilian, in 2005 shows some habits die hard. (...)
Lord Justice Taylor’s contemporary inquiry condemned a police “blunder of the first magnitude” and officers’ accounts, he said, “were close to deceitful”. Alas, that judgment only scratched the surface. The coroner’s inquest was a joke. Another official inquiry failed to reveal the extent of the cover-up. No criminal prosecutions were mounted despite newspaper revelations of police tampering with the evidence.
It took a bishop, aided by two investigative journalists, to bring the full truth to light last week where government-appointed judges had failed. There appears to be some iron law that it takes two decades for the Crown to redress grievous wrongs committed by its servants. The imprisonment of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six spring to mind.
[As does the imprisonment of Abdelbaset Megrahi.]