Chapter 11: Review and alteration of statements

Introduction

2.11.1 As discussed in Part 1, statements made by South Yorkshire Police (SYP) officers in the form of handwritten recollections of their experiences on the day of the disaster underwent an unprecedented process of review and alteration before their submission to the official inquiry.

2.11.2 On the authority of the Chief Constable this process was conducted by a small team of officers managed by Chief Superintendent Donald Denton in consultation with Peter Metcalf, a senior partner in the SYP solicitors, Hammond Suddards. Although widely known to those directly involved in the inquiries and investigations, the process only became public knowledge following submissions to the Stuart-Smith Scrutiny and their subsequent analysis.[1]

2.11.3 Focusing on the material disclosed to the Panel, and in response to requests by bereaved families, this chapter revisits the initiation, operation and results of the review and alteration of SYP officers' statements. It also considers the adoption of a similar process by the South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (SYMAS). The wider consequences of the review and alteration process are discussed in Chapter 6.

[1] Stuart-Smith, LJ Scrutiny of Evidence Relating to the Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster Cm 3878 London: The Stationery Office; (copy at HOM000045010001); and Scraton, P Hillsborough: The Truth Edinburgh: Mainstream Publications, 1999 (1st Edn).