Page last updated at 18:40 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

New move over Hillsborough files

People being lifted over the stands at Hillsborough 20 years ago
The families hope the papers will reveal the full truth of what happened

Archivists are being recruited to catalogue thousands of files on the Hillsborough tragedy, it has emerged.

The move comes after the government promised in July to release documents relating to the 1989 disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans died in Sheffield.

Some 500,000 documents held by police and other agencies have to be sorted.

South Yorkshire's Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes said the ultimate aim was to house the documents in a public purpose-built research centre.

Adverts for the archivist posts will appear in the national press on Wednesday.

"I'm very pleased we're moving from theory to reality and starting to recruit people," Mr Hughes told BBC News.

"I'm not aware of any conspiracy in these documents, but I'm confident the right way forward is to put them into the public domain so people can look for themselves.

I would love to see them housed properly so that those who have a personal and heartfelt need to see documents can do so in decent conditions
Meredydd Hughes, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire

"There'll be no redaction of these documents, there's no point putting them into the public domain without clarity."

He said the Home Office was providing funding to Sheffield City Council to employ three archivists "who are independent professionals who will sift through all the material and ensure it is fit for publication and can be easily researched".

"This is an historic event, a tragic event, but still an historic event, and is therefore bigger than all of us as individuals.

"The impact it had on British policing, the impact it had on people across the whole country and across the whole world in the way we now deal with crowds should not be underestimated."

Mr Hughes added: "I would love to see them housed properly so that those who have a personal and heartfelt need to see documents can do so in decent conditions."

However, he warned that it could be up to a year before the first documents are made available to the public

"It has to be a long process," said Mr Hughes.

"There are hundreds of thousands of documents and they need to be catalogued so people can find them, otherwise you just get bundles of useless material."



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