David Crompton, the current chief constable of the South Yorkshire Police, has been suspended (via BBC).
The decision was made by Dr Alan Billings, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire. In a statement, he said the following:
“The continuing criticism that has been directed at the Chief Constable and the eroding trust and confidence in South Yorkshire Police I have been left with no choice other than to suspend David Crompton from his duties.
“I have reached this decision with a heavy heart following discussions with David. I made the decision. My confidence in the chief’s ability to take a grip on the situation was lost.”
The move came after Andy Burnham, who is the MP for Leigh and a prominent Hillsborough campaigner, called for his resignation in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
“Shamefully, the cover-up continued in this Warrington courtroom. Millions of pounds of public money were spent retelling discredited lies,” he said to his colleagues.
“Lawyers for retired officers threw disgusting slurs; those for today’s force tried to establish that others were responsible for the opening of the gate.
“If the police had chosen to maintain its apology, these inquests would have been much shorter.”
Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall welcomed the decision:
“The system, the police force of South Yorkshire, ought to be ashamed of themselves and hang their heads in shame,” she said.
“Let’s hope that’s only the beginning of what’s going to happen – we have had 27 years of sleepless nights – let’s hope you are getting yours now.”
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Only yesterday David Crompton had said his police force “got the policing of the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough catastrophically wrong.” (via South Yorkshire Times).
“It was and still is the biggest disaster in British sporting history,” he said. “That day 96 people died and the lives of many others were changed forever. The force failed the victims and failed their families.
“Today, as I have said before, I want to apologise unreservedly to the families and all those affected.”