Hillsborough families were ‘dehumanised’

A damning new report into how the Hillsborough families were "dehumanised" has been published by the former Bishop of Liverpool.

The Rt Rev James Jones was asked to review relatives' experiences after the tragedy by Theresa May following the conclusions of the fresh inquests in April 2016.

His 240-page report, 'The Patronising Disposition of Unaccountable Power', paints a shocking picture of how the families were treated by the authorities, police and media after the 1989 tragedy which killed 96 Liverpool fans.

Image:The Rt Rev James Jones has made 25 recommendations in his report

One family member revealed how their loved one's possessions were handed back by a police officer who tipped the contents onto a table, including a picture that had been taken after their death.

One grieving mother told how a police officer told her to "look again, love" when she had been searching a notice board in Sheffield where Polaroid photos of the dead had been posted for identification to take place.

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The victims of the Hillsborough disaster
Image:The victims of the Hillsborough disaster

"Over the last two decades as I have listened to what the families have endured, a phrase has formed in my mind to describe what they have come up against whenever they have sought to challenge those in authority – 'the patronising disposition of unaccountable power'," the Rt Rev Jones wrote.

"The Hillsborough families know that there are others who have found that when in all innocence and with a good conscience they have asked questions of those in authority on behalf of those they love, the institution has closed ranks, refused to disclose information, used public money to defend its interests and acted in a way that was both intimidating and oppressive."

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Flowers are laid and candles are lit on the steps of St Georges Hall in Liverpool
Image:Flowers are laid and candles are lit on the steps of St Georges Hall in Liverpool

The report makes 25 recommendations, including the setting up of a charter for "families bereaved through public tragedy" and "proper participation" of bereaved families at inquests.

It also calls for the establishment of a "duty of candour" to address unacceptable behaviour of police officers – serving or retired – who fail to cooperate fully with investigations into alleged criminal offences or misconduct.


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