Burnham behind party campaign

Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham

Labour will today propose a major package of reforms to the Policing and Criminal Justice system in the wake of the Hillsborough verdicts to rebalance the system in favour of ordinary families.

The package includes radical plans to give bereaved families parity of funding for legal representation. It also seeks to commit the Government to the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry, looking into the relationship between Police and press.

Shadow Home Secretary and Leigh MP Andy Burnham is writing to the Home Affairs spokespersons of all major Westminster parties, including the Home Secretary, to ask for their support.

Labour will table the amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill, which returns to the Commons next month.

Mr Burnham said: “The 27-year struggle of the Hillsborough families exposes just how the odds are often stacked against ordinary families in their quest for truth about the loss of loved ones, with too much power is in the hands of the authorities.

“Hillsborough must mark a moment of real change – when Parliament resolves to rebalance the police and criminal justice system and put more power in the hands of ordinary people to get justice. Never again should any bereaved families have to fight like the Hillsborough families have had to fight.

“I am seeking to build on the cross-party spirit that led to the Hillsborough verdict to make major changes to how our policing and criminal justice system works.

“We must call time on the uneven playing field at Inquests where public bodies spend public money like water on hiring the best lawyers when ordinary families have to scratch around for whatever they can get. Public money should be spent on helping us get to the truth, not on protecting the public sector.

“There should be an end to the scandal where police officers can retire on full pensions and, by so doing, evade misconduct proceedings. Those found to have acted wrongly should face reductions in their pensions and be forced to repay any compensation.”