Liverpool

New Hillsborough investigation boss appointed

Police horse outside Leppings Lane turnstiles Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests
Image caption Operation Resolve is due to end later this year

A new head of the police investigation into the Hillsborough disaster has been appointed, the Home Office has said.

Rob Beckley, a former Deputy Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police, will lead Operation Resolve, the criminal investigation of events at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield.

Jon Stoddart resigned from the post in September due to health issues.

Mr Beckley said his "first priority" is to give files to the Crown Prosecution Service "by the turn of the year".

Operation Resolve is one of two criminal investigations ordered following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report in 2012.

A separate criminal investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission is examining police conduct.

Image copyright Avon and Somerset Constabulary
Image caption Mr Beckley started his career with the Met in 1986

Operation Resolve is due to end later this year after an inquest jury concluded in April that the 96 fans who died as a result of events at Hillsborough were unlawfully killed.

Assistant Commissioner Beckley paid tribute to Mr Stoddart and his team "for their contribution" to the investigation, which he said "has already achieved a great deal".

"My first priority will be to ensure that our case files are submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service by the turn of the year. From what I have seen so far it looks like we are on track to meet that deadline," he said.

"I have already been introduced to many of the Hillsborough families and I look forward to working with them," he added.

Mr Beckley retired from his role as chief operating officer of the College of Policing in March and previously served in the Metropolitan Police and forces in Thames Valley, Hertfordshire and Avon and Somerset.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said he "brings a wealth of experience from a long career in policing" and added that the investigation "remains on schedule".

Image caption Jon Stoddart resigned in October after leading Operation Resolve since 2012

The 96 fans died following a crush on 15 April 1989 during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium.

After hearing evidence for two years in the longest inquests in British legal history, the jury found the fans were unlawfully killed.

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