Programme notesSir Kenny Dalglish on Hillsborough Law
Sir Kenny Dalglish has wholeheartedly backed and explained the importance of the proposed Hillsborough Law.
Jordan Henderson handed over his column in the Brentford matchday programme to allow the Scot to raise awareness of the vital campaign.
Dalglish writes: "Proposals for a new Hillsborough Law have been presented over the last week or so and I want to explain why they deserve to be championed at every turn by anyone and everyone who believes in justice.
"But I also want to stress that this is not a football issue. It is not about Liverpool Football Club. It's about every single person in this country whether they have an interest in football or not. It's about fairness. And most of all, it's about what is right.
"Anyone who watched the TV drama Anne will have been given an insight into what bereaved families went through in the aftermath of Hillsborough – it went on for more than three decades and is still happening today.
"Every affected family will have their own individual story, but they will all share a common theme based on the treatment they received from the authorities at a time when they should have been given support, compassion, transparency, accountability and justice.
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"Instead, the establishment worked against them in their hour of need. This is as unjust as it is inhumane. Hillsborough Law would not change what those families and the survivors went through, nor would it provide the justice they deserve, but it would offer a recompense, a legacy and a hope that in the future the justice system will not be so loaded against anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves in a similar situation.
"We need to use the experiences of the Hillsborough families as education and inform us about the past so that we can be better prepared for the future. The same applies to the experiences of families bereaved by Grenfell, the Manchester bombing and other such tragedies.
"When people lose their lives in such terrible circumstances, the least their loved ones deserve is for the process which follows to be fair and built around the basic principles of truth and justice instead of opening the door to self-preservation and evasion.
"There are some very simple steps which can and must be taken to achieve this objective. As laid out in the proposals put forward by Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham – two politicians for whom I have a lot of respect and admiration – Hillsborough Law should guarantee the following as a bare minimum:
• A charter for families bereaved through public tragedy which should be binding on all public bodies.
• A statutory duty of candour on all police officers – and other public servants – which applies during all forms of public inquiry and criminal investigation.
• Proper participation of bereaved families at inquests, through publicly-funded legal representation and an end to limitless legal spending by bodies. Parity of legal funding would at least create a level playing field in courtrooms.
• A public advocate to act for families of the deceased after major incidents.
"I also believe that there needs to be regulation around how those in authority engage with the media in the aftermath of tragedies. We can't have a free-for-all in which self-appointed individuals can brief stories off the record with zero accountability.
"As we know all too well, all that does is create the conditions for lies to take hold so that individuals and organisations can look to avoid responsibility for their own actions. Surely a civilised society cannot allow this to happen?
"All of the above is easily achievable if the will is there, so the more support we can give the campaign, the better. From my point of view, any support I can give is only a fraction of the support that my family and myself have received since coming to Liverpool all those years ago.
"I have been fortunate enough to spend my life in communities which stand together and this is a cause that prompts all of us to do that. A Hillsborough Law needs to be passed and the sooner we can make it happen, the better for everyone.
"Myself and Liverpool Football Club add our full support to the #HillsboroughLawNow movement."