Andy Burnham unveils 'Hillsborough law' which could jail officers

Hillsborough: Andy Burnham to propose bill which could imprison 'untruthful' police officers

The MP for Leigh was a longtime campaigner in getting justice for the Hillsborough victims

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

MP Andy Burnham has proposed a so-called 'Hillsborough law' which could force greater accountability from police forces - and bring jail time for officers involved in the 1989 disaster.

The MP for Leigh, a longtime campaigner for justice for the 96 victims of Hillsborough, developed the public authority (accountability) bill in light of the inquest into the 1989 tragedy, which ruled that those who died were unlawfully killed and there were "serious failings" in how South Yorkshire Police handled the incident.  

Officers from both South Yorkshire and the West Midlands force, which oversaw the initial inquiry back in 1989, have been condemned for overseeing an institutional cover-up, which saw the statements of several officers on duty at Hillsborough changed without their consent.

The legislation, if enacted, would ensure police authorities were open and truthful about their own mistakes in future legal proceedings and operate with "frankness, candour, and more transparency."

It stresses this would include any dealings with media outlets, and would impose a penalty for any misleading information.

The punishments imposed by the bill, should there be a failure to work in this fashion, would result in a fine or a maximum of two years' imprisonment. 

It would also provide legal funding to families who have lost loved ones - such as the families of the Hillsborough victims, who had to fund their campaign for justice for decades.