The British government on Wednesday (6) announced a series of reforms to prevent a repeat of the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy in Sheffield.
On 15 April that year, Sheffield Wednesday were crushed by a crowd of 97 in the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium.
The families of those killed and injured have suffered a “double injustice”, concluded a UK Home Office report published on Wednesday. Officials erred in protecting the victims, questioning their responsibility for the disaster.
The report is the government’s response to 25 recommendations from an earlier study published in 2017.
“The families of Hillsborough have suffered so many injustices that, over 34 years, there is no adequate apology for what they have endured,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.
“I want to reiterate those apologies today and thank the Hillsborough families for their perseverance, patience and courage,” he added.
A new system will help the judicial system and organizations help families of victims of major disasters.
The government signed the “Hillsborough Charter” in which it committed to “a culture of honesty and transparency in the public service”.
In particular, the text introduces a duty of integrity on the part of law enforcement.
Last January, British police apologized and announced reforms that included measures to prevent the loss or destruction of evidence.
In 2016, a UK court indicted the police and officials responsible for stadium security, judging there to be failures in the system, particularly an error in decision-making, which led to the rush at Hillsborough when a stadium gate was fortunately opened.
But since that report, no criminal convictions have been announced.
The rush initially resulted in the deaths of 94 people, crushed against the metal bars that previously separated the stands from the field. Two others who were injured later died.
In 2021, 32 years after the tragedy, Hillsborough’s 97th victim died as a result of his injuries. (AFP)
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