Leeds & West Yorkshire

No IPCC investigation into Bradford City fire disaster

Bradford City Fire 1985 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fifty-six people died and more than 250 were injured in the 1985 disaster

The police watchdog has said it has found "no indication" of potential misconduct by police officers during the 1985 Bradford City fire disaster.

West Yorkshire Police referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following claims made by fire survivor Martin Fletcher.

Fifty-six people died and more than 250 others were injured at the Valley Parade stadium in May of 1985.

The IPCC said it would not investigate the force over the claims.

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IPCC deputy chair Sarah Green said: "The fire at Bradford City's Valley Parade Stadium in 1985 was a horrific tragedy that many of us can recall, resulting in the death of 56 people. Mr Fletcher, the complainant, suffered significant loss and trauma himself.

"My decision not to conduct an investigation was not taken lightly; it comes as a result of detailed consideration of both Mr Fletcher's concerns about the role of the police and documents obtained from West Yorkshire Police, as well as evidence which is publicly available."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An inquiry ruled the fire had been started by a spectator dropping a cigarette or a lighted match

She said that "with hindsight" it was possible to "identify things the police could have done differently" but there was "no indication any individual officer may have breached the professional standards applicable at the time".

She added: "Significant learning was rightly identified at the time of the disaster, and formed part of the evolution towards the modern-day approach to policing large events."

The IPCC said it had made a recommendation to the force that it should consider making more of its records relating to its original investigation into the causes of the fire publicly available.

Mr Fletcher, who was 12 at the time of the blaze, escaped from the stand at Valley Parade, but his father, uncle, grandfather and younger brother all died.

The Popplewell inquiry, held three weeks after the disaster, ruled that the fire was started by a spectator dropping a cigarette or a lighted match which ignited rubbish that had accumulated under an old timber stand.

Russ Foster, Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, said: "Despite the passage of time, the terrible events of 11 May 1985 will never be forgotten by those who lost someone or were injured themselves, or by the wider community of Bradford."

He said that while the force had already released a large amount of material relating to the disaster it would consider the IPCC recommendation.

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