Time is now for accountability: Hillsborough families
on 12/10/2012 13:13:35
Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, welcomed the announcement that the biggest-ever inquiry into police actions in the UK is to be launched in the wake of the damning report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.
Speaking in Anfield, Liverpool, she said: "I can only repeat again what we said four weeks ago … the truth is out there. I think the time is now for accountability.
"Accountability is the most important thing and responsibility, and also to make sure that this never ever happens again. I think that is very important, not just for the families but for the country as a whole because I think the country has been shamed by what has gone on over Hillsborough 23 years ago.
"I think it's a shame on the country, a shame on the system and a shame on the governments and I think that has got to be changed and that is a good thing that will come from this."
Mrs Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James was among the 96 who died at the FA Cup semi-final, said that she is "very happy" to learn that Sir Norman Bettison, the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, will be among police officers to face scrutiny by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
"He will be included and he is not going to be the only one," she said.
"Obviously they are going to look back at all the serving policemen on that day and I think that is a great thing to do because they were so many involved as part of that cover-up.
"Also what we must not forget is West Midlands Police, and that they are going to be investigated as well. What did they know about the cover-up?
"So I think it is very important to get this all out in the open."
Mrs Aspinall said momentum continued to be behind the families in their search for justice.
She said: "It's not only in this country but all over the world.
"We have had a lot of support and from the doubters as well at the time, which is a great thing. They are apologising to us because they always believed what the police were saying. It's never too late to say that to us.
"It's great to have that support behind us now and know the country is backing you."
She said the campaign had already achieved "a great deal" in getting the truth out about the disaster.
"We have showed that we were not liars and that we were telling the truth all along," she said.
"We have still got a way to go because we now need to change the inquest verdicts of accidental deaths.
"We definitely need to get that changed now and put the right verdict on."
Asked if she thought the families could have got this far in their campaign, she said: "No, I've got to be honest about it.
"I always knew we had the fight in us and the determination but I knew we were up against the establishment and that is a very hard thing to beat and yet I think we have done it."
She said the support group would meet their lawyers next Monday to further discuss the ramifications of today's announcements by the IPCC and the Director of Public Prosecutions.