KEIR RADNEDGE in BAKU
— No doubt about the worldwide power of the campaign by families of the victims of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. A banner demanding ‘Justice for the 96’ was unfurled, and allowed to remain, at the front of the main stand of the Tofig Bahramov stadium here during Neftchi Baku’s Europa League tie against Internazionale.
Just because the independent panel has exposed the full, awful scale of the cover-up by South Yorkshire Police does not end the campaign even though the headlines have faded. As the relatives insisted on the morning the report was published: “Truth today, justice tomorrow.”
Back in England fall-out from the report continued with the announcement that Sir Norman Bettison, one of the senior police-men involved in the initial unsatisfactory review of police failings, is to retire as Chief Constable of neighbouring West Yorkshire Police.
Immediately after the report’s publication Bettison made a much-derided statement about his original role. Subsequently a complaint was made to police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) that he had supplied misleading information in the wake of the disaster.
Bettison, the most senior officer involved with the discredited Hillsborough operation still in service, issued a statement saying: “Recent weeks have caused me to reflect on what is best for the future of policing inWest Yorkshire and I have now decided to set a firm date for my retirement of 31 March 2013.”
Liverpool’s John Moores Universityhas postponed until after further inquiries any decision on which to strip Bettison of an honorary fellowship.
A University statement said: “Liverpool John Moores Universityhas been following events surrounding the Report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel and welcomes its findings.
“The university would like to commend the families and friends of those who died in the Hillsborough Tragedy for the dignity and fortitude they have shown during their lengthy campaign for justice.
“Requests to rescind the Honorary Fellowship presented to Sir Norman Bettison are being treated with the utmost seriousness by the University and a senior Committee of Governors is currently monitoring the situation very closely.
“In light of the forthcoming Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation, the disciplinary hearing by the West Yorkshire Police Authority and the likely Home Office review into individual and systemic issues linked to the Hillsborough Tragedy, LJMU believes it would be prejudicial to the outcome of these investigations and hearings for this committee to make a decision/recommendation before the outcomes are known.”
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