Quiz for Hillsborough police chief

This Is Lancashire: David Duckenfield, former South Yorkshire chief superintendent, will be questioned by officers. David Duckenfield, former South Yorkshire chief superintendent, will be questioned by officers.

Hillsborough disaster police chief David Duckenfield will be interviewed by detectives as part of the criminal investigation into the tragedy.

The officer, who was in charge when the order was given to open the Leppings Lane gate that led to 96 Liverpool fans being crushed to death, will be seen by officers in the new year.

Now retired from South Yorkshire Police, former chief superintendent Mr Duckenfield was the matchday commander for Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest, held at Sheffield Wednesday's ground on April 15 1989.

Today Jon Stoddart, assistant chief commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and leading Operation Resolve, the criminal investigation into the disaster, confirmed Mr Duckenfield, now living in Dorset, will be seen by his officers early next year.

He said the investigation now began from 1975, had interviewed 500 witnesses, was looking at half a million documents and was in "good shape to get to the bottom of the causes of the disaster and to get to the truth".

The findings will be used by the director of public prosecutions to decide if anyone faces potential charges of manslaughter or any body is charged with regulatory offences.

Mr Stoddart gave a press update today on the huge inquiry, a year tomorrow since the new inquiry was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May.

"First of all, it's a criminal investigation into the deaths of 96 fans. Our working theory, in short, is to prove or disprove that the 96 fans were unlawfully killed," he said.

Original inquests into the deaths were later found to be flawed, the verdicts of accidental death quashed and fresh inquests will be held next year.

Mr Stoddart said much of his team's work has been to assist the coroner to gather information for the new inquests.

He said that work had three aspects, including the question of stadium safety.

"We are taking a much broader take on the investigation," Mr Stoddart said.

"Not just events on the day, not just command and control by police and the response of the emergency services."

He said health and safety experts were helping officers to look at stadium design, modifications and compliance with safety laws.

And he said more in-depth re-interviewing of witnesses from the day was shedding "far more light" on events.

Officers are also scouring CCTV footage taken on the day, footage from BBC cameras covering the match and still photographs, allied with fans' witness statements to try to pinpoint the exact movements of victims.

Mr Stoddart said: "We are working with the families to make sure we get the best possible picture of the movements of their loved ones on the day, from their departure from their home to their movements on the Leppings Lane End."

Around 500 police officers have been interviewed so far, with eight officers "declining" to be questioned.

A separate investigation into the conduct of police in the aftermath of the disaster is looking at whether statements from police officers on the day were changed.

Operation Resolve was launched last December after a damning report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel found that South Yorkshire Police orchestrated a cover-up, falsified documents and blamed innocent supporters in the aftermath.

The lives of 41 fans could have been saved, the report concluded, as it cleared supporters of any wrongdoing or blame for the disaster.

The new inquests into the deaths of the Hillsborough victims are due to start in Warrington on March 31 and will take six months to complete.

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