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News Round-Up Week Ending 6.5.16

(Posted on 04/05/16)

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News Round-Up Week Ending 6.5.16

South Yorks PCC Criticised after Hillsborough Inquests:

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings has been criticised, by families of those unlawfully killed in 1989 at the Hillsborough stadium, for failing to hold the force to account over the adversarial strategy it employed during the inquests, the Guardian reports.

“It appears that the PCC failed in his primary job of holding the force to account, including to ask why the case, which he was funding, was taking so long and costing so much,” said Pete Weatherby QC, representing 22 families. “The families called for [chief constable] David Crompton’s resignation because he ran a case contrary to public admissions he made in 2012. It is difficult to imagine how the PCC failed to notice this, and take appropriate action.”

The force’s legal stance doubled the time taken for the inquests, lawyers have claimed. After two years of hearings the jury unanimously decided that behaviour by Liverpool supporters at the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest did not contribute to the dangerous situation which developed there.

Billings’ office paid £18m to police lawyers altogether, including £12.77m to solicitors Lewis Hymanson Small, representing Ch Supt David Duckenfield and four other former senior officers. 

Billings was elected as PCC in November 2014 following his predecessor Shaun Wright’s resignation over the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal. As the Labour party candidate, Billings is expected to win re-election in Thursday’s vote.

In response to the criticism Billings said Crompton had always assured him South Yorkshire police were being: “Respectful to the process, the victims and families by being present throughout, and by not asking any questions that were incompatible with the apologies that had been given, or might seek to go behind any of the findings of previous enquiries, to suggest that the behaviour of the fans was being called in question.”