Hillsborough emergency services poised to release files

ALL emergency services involved in the Hillsborough tragedy 20 years ago are poised to release their own censored files.

South Yorkshire Police this week agreed to make 300 boxes of secret documents public.

Now the county’s ambulance and fire service have indicated they are ready to follow suit.

The News comes ahead of a meeting scheduled for the coming week of Merseyside MPs and home secretary Jacqui Smith.

They want the government to deliver her promise of "full disclosure" to secure justice for families and Reds fans.

Ms Smith and Culture Secretary Andy Burnham agreed to drop the 30-year secrecy rule which normally covers police and government files.

But there are still questions over how the files will be released – police documents alone fill 300 boxes – and whether they will be censored for legal reasons.

Ms Smith agreed to meet MPs to discuss the practicalities.

Knowsley North MP George Howarth said: "As last week's 20th anniversary memorial demonstrated feelings amongst the bereaved Hillsborough families and fans are still very raw.

"It is important that every bit of information that can be made available is released so that the whole truth can finally be told."

St Helens North MP Dave Watts, who as a government whip is convening the meeting with Ms Smith, said: "There is a great deal of information to be released.

"But some of it is not contained in government files. We need to know what powers the home secretary has to ensure that everything relevant is released.”

Today Norris Green man Tony Edwards, 53, the only professional paramedic to make it onto the pitch, urged his former bosses at Yorkshire Ambulance Service “not to hide”.

A line of 44 ambulances, many from the Trust, queued up outside the stadium on the day 96 Liverpool fans were killed.

Norris Green-born Mr Edwards, 53, told the ECHO: “They [the ambulance service} should allow everything to come out. What have they got to hide?”

Today Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust spokeswoman Amy Collins, said: “The Trust has not received an official government request relating to this matter.

“Clearly if such a request is made Yorkshire Ambulance Service would respond accordingly.”

A South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “We have initiated a review of the documentation we hold relating to the Hillsborough disaster to see if any unpublished evidence remains, with the intention of making available to the public anything we have not previously published which can be legally released.”

Today Margaret Aspinall, who lost her son James in Sheffield, said: “There is optimism that we are finally, after all these years, getting disclosure.”