Following the conclusion of the Hillsborough inquests, the following statements have been issued on behalf of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), Operation Resolve and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
IPCC deputy chair, Rachel Cerfontyne, said: “The conclusion of the inquests is another milestone and a day when my thoughts are with the families and friends of those who died as a result of the disaster.
“Now the inquests have ended our role in providing documents and other material to support the coroner is over. However, the end of the inquests does not mark the end of the process. Our attention now focuses on concluding our criminal investigation into the aftermath of the disaster. This is by far the biggest and most complex investigation ever undertaken by the IPCC.
“We have made significant progress on the investigation and we will continue to work closely with Operation Resolve and the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue our remaining lines of enquiry as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. I anticipate we will conclude the criminal investigations by the turn of the year.”
The officer in overall command of Operation Resolve, assistant commissioner Jon Stoddart, said: “Today is a day for the families. They have fought hard for many years for these new inquests and today brings an end to this particular part of their journey. My thoughts and those of my team are with the families and friends of the 96 as they take stock of what has happened over the past two years at the court in Warrington and begin to understand the determinations of the jury.
“For the past two years, my team has supported the coroner, Sir John Goldring, and provided him with thousands of documents, witness statements and reports to assist him in conducting these inquests. While completing this task, my team has also been carrying out a criminal investigation.
“Now that the inquests have concluded my sole focus is on completing the criminal investigation, which I expect will be finished by the turn of the year. It will then be for the Crown Prosecution Service to consider the evidence and decide whether any individual or organisation should face criminal prosecution.”
Sue Hemming, head of the special crime and counter terrorism division at the CPS, said: “Following the inquests determinations the CPS team will continue to work closely with Operation Resolve and the IPCC as in due course, the CPS will formally consider whether any criminal charges should be brought against any individual or corporate body based upon all the available evidence, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
“We would ask that everyone is mindful of the continuing investigations and the potential for future criminal proceedings when reporting or publicly commenting on the inquests conclusions.”