The Independent Police Complaints Commission has identified 13 former and current police officers as "suspects" in the ongoing investigation into the events that occurred before and during the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
Richard Hartley-Parkinson of the Mirror writes that the IPCC has confirmed that 11 of these officers had already been interviewed under caution in relation to a number of offences including manslaughter, misconduct and perverting the course of justice.
The IPCC also confirmed the news via its official Twitter account:
We've identified 12 retired police officers & 1 serving as suspects in our Hillsborough investigation. 4 are also of interest to Op Resolve— IPCC (@IPCCNews) March 27, 2014
Hartley-Parkinson reported that Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed his belief that any police officer on duty at Hillsborough that day should give evidence for any new inquiries that are held.
But Labour MP Derek Twigg said it is scandalous that some officers were not fully cooperating, and he urged the Prime Minister to step in.
Hartley-Parkinson quotes Cameron saying ahead of the 25th anniversary of the disaster:
It is important, that anniversary coming up. As you know, the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) is investigating all of these complaints and in addition the families can make complaints to the investigative power tribunal as well.
The Home Secretary has written to all police forces asking them to make sure they make available all the information they hold on Hillsborough and in my view that should include police officers co-operating with this vital inquiry.
Liverpool FC have confirmed they will be wearing a patch to commemorate the 25th anniversary:
Liverpool will wear commemorative patches to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. pic.twitter.com/NbwZQxQ8NS— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) March 25, 2014
Sandra Laville of The Guardian writes that news of the IPCC's actions comes at a vital time, as the linked criminal investigation began its own proceedings into the deaths of the 96 victims from Hillsborough and was due to start this week.
Laville reports that at a pre-inquest hearing on Thursday, lawyers expressed their "considerable regret" for a delay in providing pathology reports to the families of the deceased. The coroner on the case, Lord Justice Goldring, was then asked to delay the opening of the hearing as a result.
Judy Khan QC, who represents the families of the deceased, has asked for a three-week delay in proceedings to allow the families time to reflect over the late pathology reports, per Laville's article.
Laville also quotes Christina Lambert QC who is council to the inquests. Lambert said:
"It is matter of considerable regret that we were not able to provide the families with the pathology reports earlier. We recognise fully this has placed an emotional burden on families at an extremely difficult and tense time for them."
This led coroner Lord Justice Goldring to say, per Laville:
I understand the emotional commitment of the families to the start date and all that that involves. In the end, it seems to me I have to decide between the families and the convenience of the jury. I have decided that the families' interests will prevail.
Laville confirmed that approximately 250 family members, lawyers and journalists gathered for Thursday's hearing at the inquest venue on a business park on the outskirts of Warrington. A jury will be selected at the start of the inquests on Monday, almost 25 years on from the disaster in Sheffield.
Liverpool are also asking sports fans from across the world to donate a scarf to mark the anniversary, per Mike Whalley of ESPNFC, with Kenny Dalglish writing to all Premier League and Football League clubs asking for their help.
Each scarf received will be laid out in the shape of the number 96 on the Anfield pitch for the Hillsborough Memorial Service, which will take place there on April 15.