Police chiefs face £6m shortfall over grant awarded for legal fees for Hillsborough inquests

Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire Alan Billings.
Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire Alan Billings.
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Police chiefs in South Yorkshire estimate a £6 million shortfall between what will be spent on legal fees for police officers involved in the Hillsborough inquests and a Home Office grant awarded to meet the costs.

The Home Office has agreed to award South Yorkshire Police £10.7 million towards the costs of representing eight police officers and the current Chief Constable in the inquests into the deaths of 96 football fans at Sheffield Wednesday’s football stadium in April 1989.

But the force has already spent around £12 million and estimates that in total there could be a £6 million shortfall.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said the gap in funding was ‘very bleak news for the financial position of South Yorkshire Police’.

“This figure is a very early estimation of the costs that we face. We have not yet received the invoices for January to March 2015, a period where there was significant witnesses giving evidence at the inquests,” he said.

“My office will continue to analyse the true impact on the budget and the effect that this will have on the provision of police services within South Yorkshire.

“This estimated figure, and therefore the estimated shortfall, does not take into account other potential special grant applications for other police officers who have applied for financial assistance, nor the continued representation of those currently covered by the special grant that will continue to be represented during 2015/16.

“I repeat my warning of yesterday, that this is very bleak news for the financial position of South Yorkshire Police and we have a lot of work to do, including continued dialogue with the Home Secretary to establish a way forward that will relieve the burden on the public of South Yorkshire.”