Metropolitan Police have confirmed the launch of an investigation after claims emerged that Hillsborough campaigners were spied on by officers.
BBC Merseyside reported the revelation through its official Twitter account:
NEWS: Met Police tell 95.8fm they are looking into claims officers spied on #Hillsborough campaigners but won't confirm or deny the claims— bbcmerseyside (@bbcmerseyside) January 10, 2014
A large portion of the blame for the 1989 tragedy—causing the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans—has finally been placed on the police.
As noted by Paul Kelso and Martin Beckford of the Daily Telegraph back in September 2012, an independent report into the events that took place on that desperately sad day concluded that a giant police cover-up had taken place.
The Times' Tony Barrett was quick to weigh in on the latest news, noting that, due to the gravity of the situation and the implications at hand, the police need to do far better than offer vague statements like the above:
As a journalist you get used to hearing the phrase "can't confirm or deny" but there are some situations where it just won't do.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) January 10, 2014
Barrett's comment comes in reaction to the statement that it can't be "confirmed or denied" that special divisions of the Met. Police were keeping surveillance on campaigning members of the Hillsborough appeal.
The Liverpool Echo's Eleanor Barlow published a report on Friday, claiming Special Branch devoted resources to the task, presumably in a bid to stay ahead of those dedicated campaigners who continue to seek the truth.
In that report, Sheila Coleman from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign said:
We were promised transparency and if the Government is trying to make amends for the cover up it needs to wipe the slate clean. If individuals were under investigation at any level it needs to be in the public domain.
If they can't deny it, it will be assumed that they were investigating people involved in the campaign and that shows how those most affected by Hillsborough were effectively criminalised.
In a little over three months, tributes will be made for the 25th anniversary of the date that has become so engrained in English football society, a tragedy that many feel could have been avoided.
The fact that campaigners still have not been granted justice in full is nothing short of a scandal. Additionally, it is now alleged that they have been spied upon, providing even more questions for the police to answer.
Twelve months ago, the Liverpool Echo's David Bartlett alleged that campaigners had been subjected to phone tapping. The investigation will aim to shed light on such claims.
It has been almost 18 months since the independent report revealed evidence of the police cover-up, yet still the people of Liverpool seek the full truth, something that is long overdue.
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