The Police Federation: 'Putting our side of the trauma over to the press and media'
2.12.96 On the morning The Sun and other newspapers published the serious allegations against Liverpool fans members of the SYP branch of the Police Federation met in a Sheffield restaurant.
2.12.97 The branch Secretary, PC Middup, addressed the meeting stating that the 'Chief Constable had been most grateful for the support we had given as he had been in a difficult position' and 'it was a measure of the immense esteem in which the Chief Constable held this Board' that he would be joining the meeting later in the morning.
2.12.98 As spokesperson PC Middup 'wanted to tell the J.B.B. members and the people he represented what he had tried to do, putting our side of the trauma over to the press and media'.
2.12.99 He presented a chronology of events from 6.15pm on Saturday 15 April when he first became aware of the disaster. He had attended a press briefing at 7pm with the Chief Constable and then visited the stadium. He found officers 'in a terribly distressed state'. The minutes recorded:
Some officers were injured and some stories were told to the Secretary [Middup] which were horrific. One story being that a policewoman who was giving resuscitation was urinated on. Other police officers were verbally abused and had stuff thrown at them and spat on. Some officers saw people picking coins up from the floor which had obviously come from the victims. Mr Middup said that was how it was portrayed to him that night by individuals under tremendous strain.
2.12.100 PC Middup had responded to the 'immense' interest from the media. He had been 'proud to put the members' case forward' and had received a first abusive call the previous night. Another officer noted that while PC Middup had responded, 'senior officers had been lacking and abysmal, as if they had something to hide'.
2.12.101 The meeting discussed officers' reaction to negative media coverage, to the stress they had been under and the offer of counselling. PC Middup 'stated that the Chief Constable had said the truth could not come from him but had given the Secretary a totally free hand and supported him', as had many senior officers.
2.12.102 In recounting the day's events a police officer (name redacted) reported that fans had been arrested 'early on Saturday morning' having thrown 'empty whisky bottles out of their vans'. He claimed 'some of the fans had been drunk from early morning when they arrived and some had been at Midland station all night'.
Mr [name redacted] said he had taken some of the brunt of wrath, as he had been abused and kicked by Liverpool supporters. The supporters had been spitting in officers' faces ... he did not react he just took it. This had been after, when the bodies were removed and when the fans were coming out.
Mr [name redacted] stated that the policewoman had supposedly rung the 'Star', saying this welfare aspect had not been adequate and as a result of this she was going to be interviewed. Unfortunately, no-one knew who she was.
2.12.103 Another officer (name redacted) stated that while he was 'attending to the injured people, he was verbally abused and the supporters were shouting, "Murderers"'. Mr (name redacted) was not at Hillsborough but had discussed the disaster with his shift 'who had been right in the thick of it, getting people off the terraces, giving the kiss of life and whilst the officers were carrying this out, they were kicked and punched'. The officers had alleged that fans 'even ripped the cover off one of the victim's [sic] faces and shouted an obscenity at the dead person'.
2.12.104 Inspector Gordon Sykes stated that two quotes published in newspapers were from him. The first was 'about the police horses and the supporters diving underneath the bellies and through the legs of horses'. The second was 'when supporters were called into the Ground and were at the back of the terracing, then they all got booted out at the back'.
Mr Sykes said that is when he was carrying a young girl out who was virtually dead. Her 'T' shirt had come over her head and her breast was hanging out, when some supporters shouted, 'Throw her over here, let us ...' and then added another obscenity.
2.12.105 He stated that he had been kicked while attempting to resuscitate dying fans. While he had not seen 'the looting of bodies ... he and other colleagues ended up with ten bodies and the bodies had nothing on them at all, not even a handkerchief'.
2.12.106 PC Middup considered that there were two issues requiring clarification: 'they were that he was told the supporters were seen to be picking up items from the floor and the policewoman was urinated on'. Mr Booth 'stated that one of his men said he had witnessed people picking stuff up from the floor around the dead bodies'. (Name redacted) commented that other officers had been 'urinated on'.
2.12.107 The meeting criticised senior officers and raised the issue of junior and inexperienced officers, including special constables, having to deal with dead bodies. Soon after, the Chief Constable, Peter Wright, joined the meeting. He noted the continuing criticisms of the police published in the media, the 'trauma' that had been inflicted on the 'Force itself', and all that had happened 'has to be said' as there 'would be a Judicial Inquiry'. He then discussed his statements to the media:
Mr. Wright stated he had to say on Saturday night we opened a gate to save lives outside. He said he had received all sorts of horrendous stories ... he had made a conscious decision not to talk about these things - the behaviour of the fans. The mass of the crowd was the reason for opening the gate. He added he did not think there was any purpose or merit to respond in this way. Although Mr. Wright admitted he would have liked to have been able to make the comments which Mr. Middup had made.
2.12.108 The Chief Constable advised the meeting to make 'notes on paper from recollections of events ... giving an indication of what happened on that day', for the 'only people to influence were the Judicial Inquiry' and SYP 'had to look at it ourselves'.
2.12.109 He had invited 'officers who were on duty at the Leppings Lane end to come and talk about it today' to gather 'evidence collectively from the officers who were there'. He stated that all officers were 'in it together'.
2.12.110 CC Wright counselled against talking to the media. He praised the officers who had dealt with the temporary mortuary, recounting the procedure that had been adopted. He was questioned about the visibility of senior officers in the immediate aftermath of the disaster and about the 'cut in manpower' because 'this information could be dangerous if someone outside became aware of it'.
2.12.111 The meeting then reverted to informing the Chief Constable about the behaviour of Liverpool fans, particularly allegations of heavy drinking.
2.12.112 The Chairman, Bob Lax, told the Chief Constable that 'fans who had travelled across the Woodhead [Pass] had left a trail of beer cans' and a 'video car had been sent round the whole route and he likened it to driving through confetti, driving through the beer cans'. In fact, the video material disclosed to the Panel suggests this was a gross exaggeration.
2.12.113 Discussion also focused on secondary accounts of the unfolding disaster including an allegation that Liverpool always had 'a hard core of 2000 supporters who never have a ticket, who go down at the last minute, smash their way through the turnstiles and blast through to the terraces'. CC Wright stated that if this was the case the information should have been given to SYP.
2.12.114 According to another officer, on the 'pro-formas circulated throughout the Force [to gather officers' recollections] there were corroborated accounts of vile, repulsive behaviour from Liverpool fans - hundreds of them'. In fact there were a few accounts of inappropriate behaviour among the large crowd before the match, but also references to the good-natured behaviour of most.
2.12.115 CC Wright informed the meeting that 'we had got to catch it whilst it is hot' and 'we must pull our case together and present our case to the Inquiry team'. He 'felt a tremendous responsibility to get ourselves moving' and 'anyone who acts in good faith would get as much support as possible'. They were engaged in 'preparing a defence and we had got to prepare a rock solid story'. He was 'delighted the Inquiry had started and believed we would be exonerated'.
2.12.116 He stated further that 'the Inquiry team could be directed but if we sit back and let them collect the evidence, we would lose it. We have to do it ourselves'. It was vital to ensure that the information regarding fans' behaviour was logged, for 'if anybody should be blamed, it should be the drunken ticketless individuals'.
2.12.117 The Chairman thanked the Chief Constable for presenting to Police Federation members 'a positive way to deal with it'. The minutes concluded: 'It was agreed by everyone we had to get the message - togetherness - across to the Force'.
 Detailed minutes, dated 27 April 1989, of a Special Joint Branch Board Meeting, Police Federation, South Yorkshire Police, held at the 'Pickwick' Restaurant, High Green, Sheffield, 10am, 19 April 1989, TPF000000010001, pp1-12.
 For example, statement of Professor of Surgery, SYP000065110001, p4 and statement of Dr John Ashton, 19 April 1989, SYP000096240001, p28.