With the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster approaching, behind the scenes, work towards a new inquest into the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters continues to move ahead. The latest revelations involve the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the non-governmental police oversight mechanism in England and Wales, which disclosed at a pre-inquest hearing on Thursday that they had identified 13 suspects as part of their investigations into the events of 1989.
Undertaken in preparation for a new Hillsborough inquest after the original ruling of accidental death was overturned in 2012, previously unseen footage provided by the BBC helped to identify a number of officers, some retired and some still serving, whose actions on the day could see them charged. Interviews with suspects and witnesses continue, with the full inquest expected to begin at the end of the month in Warrington under the oversight of Coroner Lord Justice Goldring.
While the IPCC is responsible for investigating the general conduct of police at Hillsborugh, four of their suspects are also being investigated under Operation Resolve, a seperate inquiry being undertaken to determine if any of the officers are to be held responsible for the unlawful killing of fans on that day. The 13 officers could face charges ranging from perverting the course of justice to, in the case of those being investigated as part of Operation Resolve, manslaughter.
When the full inquest does get under way, it is expected to take at least nine months before any ruling is reached. Criminal charges, if they were to be laid against any of the officers, would follow.