South Yorkshire Police's chief constable was slammed today for sending an email claiming the families of those killed in the Hillsborough disaster were not telling the truth.
David Crompton sent senior staff an email last year prior to the publication of the Hillsborough report in which he said: "One thing is certain - the Hillsborough Campaign for Justice will be doing their version … in fact their version of certain events has become 'the truth' even though it isn't!
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has written to Mr Crompton expressing concern over the contents of the email that it said were "at best ill-judged and at worst offensive and upsetting."
The email continued: "I just have the feeling that the media 'machine' favours the families and not us, so we need to be a bit more innovative in our response to have a fighting chance otherwise we will just be roadkill."
The Hillsborough Independent Panel report found that there had been attempts by senior members of South Yorkshire Police to smear the victims and that police statements were doctored to remove criticism of the force.
South Yorkshire Police's response to the tragedy, in which 96 football fans died at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium in April 1989, is currently subject to a major inquiry by the IPCC.
Police and Crime Commissioner of South Yorkshire Shaun Wright wrote to the IPCC last month when he was made aware of the emails and associated documents.
today IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said while the majority of the emails and documents he considered raised no issues, this particular email from the chief constable caused concern.
"Families and individuals affected by the Hillsborough tragedy, along with the wider public, will rightly be concerned over the apparent attitude displayed by this communication within the highest ranks of the force which is currently under investigation," Mr Long said.
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