The Investigation

Operation Resolve is one of two criminal investigations ordered following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report in September 2012. The other is an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission . The aim of Operation Resolve is to undertake a thorough investigation into the events leading up to and including the disaster that took place on 15 April 1989 which resulted in the deaths of 96 people and injuries to 730 people at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium.

The investigation is looking at events leading up to the day of the disaster as well as the disaster itself. Our inquiry will look at:

  • All decisions made (or not) and actions undertaken by those agencies/organisations who had responsibility of duty of care to those attending the match on 15 April 1989
  • The planning and preparation for the match, including organisational and individual decision making.  It will examine whether the arrangements were sufficient to host the event
  • Compare Hillsborough against the standards that existed in the 1980s together with the command and control, resourcing levels and threat and risk assessment including mitigation of the threat at Hillsborough
  • The planning and decision-making that went into the ground’s design, engineering, alterations and final layout, including the condition and adequacy of the turnstiles, the siting of barriers and “pen” design. The safety monitoring and checking of the stadium will be essential in establishing whether the ground was fit for purpose
  • The emergency services’ response and activation of any pre-planned responses to such disasters. It will examine in detail the police actions on 15 April 1989, both before and as the disaster unfolded, specifically their responses to the plight of the injured, dying and deceased and to the witnesses, relatives and friends.
  • The re-examination of all available documents and data collected from the original police investigation, Coroner’s inquest, Public Inquiry, private prosecution, judicial review, Divisional Court ruling and the Hillsborough Independent Panel 2012. It will also examine all available information in relation to the previous FA Cup Semi Finals held at Hillsborough in 1981, 1987 and 1988 in order to identify new lines of inquiry
  • Through an appropriately managed interview strategy, identify potential witnesses, including key significant witnesses and interview those persons who were involved in the planning of the semi final or who had a role to play on the day of the disaster
  • The investigation will include all potential suspects both living and deceased, including those who have been tried and acquitted or where the proceedings have been stayed, taking into account any action, which may be a contributory factor to the deaths, discovered during the course of the investigation.

Where our inquiries involve examining the actions of South Yorkshire Police, this part of our investigation is being managed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Click here to find out more.