Hillsborough families seek lawyer to oversee fresh investigations

The families of Hillsborough victims are lobbying for a lawyer to oversee newly announced reviews into the way the police handled the 1989 tragedy.

The Lawyer understands the group are keen to have external oversight of the process because of the history of cover-ups to the case.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission deputy chair Deborah Glass and the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer both confirmed today there will be fresh investigations following the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel last month.

The Crown Prosecution Service will now consider all the available material to decide if any criminal charges can be brought.

The IPCC, which has authority over police officers and forces, said it will investigate the amended statements, attempts to deflect blame, actions of officers and the role of West Midlands Police in investigating the disaster.

The IPCC will examine the process of disclosing evidence by officers in the aftermath of the 1989 disaster, but have no power to discipline lawyers.

That falls to the SRA, which has already announced it is investigating the “role and conduct” of solicitors involved in the aftermath of Hillsborough, believed to include former Hammond Suddards partner Peter Metcalf (20 September 2012).

He was identified by the Hillsborough report as recommending South Yorkshire Police to review and alter 116 officer statements relating to the policing operation following the 1989 disaster which killed 96 Liverpool FC fans (13 September 2012).

The CPS confirmed a dedicated team is being set up, headed by a senior professional lawyer within the CPS Special Crime Division to carry out the review. No decision has yet been made as to whether external lawyers will be involved in the process.