South Yorkshire Police prepare for compensation pay-outs

A new financial report revealed that South Yorkshire Police are making plans to award millions of pounds in compensation to the victims of both the Hillsborough disaster and the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal.

The police force has earmarked £14 million – £4.8 million for each major incident and a further £9 million Home Office grant – to help cover the costs for this financial year.

Ninety-six people died and thousands of spectators were injured in the April 1989 sporting disaster in Sheffield.

Hundreds of people are now taking legal action against South Yorkshire Police, while at least 70 child sexual abuse victims are suing the force and Rotherham Council for failing to take action.

Both organisations have vehemently denied being reluctant to tackle widespread child sexual abuse following The Times newspaper investigation in 2012.

The investigation exposed a confidential police report dating back to 2010, warning that thousands of these crimes were being committed in the region annually by gangs of Asian men.

Rotherham’s former MP Denis MacShane claimed police had hid the abuse from politicians, which affected at least 1,400 children.

Last November, the High Court granted a Group Litigation Order for 465 claimants pursuing a claim for misfeasance in public office against the chief constables of South Yorkshire and West Midlands Police for a systematic cover-up after Hillsborough.

The claimants are either relatives of the Liverpool supporters who died as a result of the crush, those who survived or their family members, who will be represented by one legal team.

Heather Williams QC, of Doughty Street Chambers, representing the families in court, said senior South Yorkshire police officers “constructed and propagated a false narrative intended to deflect blame for the disaster away from their own officers and on to Liverpool supporters”.

She added that West Midlands Police – which has spent £394,000 on legal costs relating to the civil claim – had “assisted or facilitated” the cover-up given the force was appointed to investigate the disaster.

An inquest verdict found the 96 football fans were unlawfully killed after a 27-year campaign for accountability.

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