Tag Archives: Hillsborough

Remembering Hillsborough: The guilty have names and faces (i) Paul Middup

Following the publication yesterday of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report on the Hillsborough Disaster of 15 April 1989, it is worth looking at some of the key figures who conspired to put together a false narrative, in which blame was shifted from incompetent policing onto – and here’s the lie – drunken, ticketless, late-arriving, violent Liverpool fans.

One of those who worked hardest and longest to defame the dead and the survivors of the Leppings Lane terrace was Constable Paul Middup, the secretary of the South Yorkshire Police Federation. The HIP report clearly show that he was one of the instrumental people behind The Sun‘s notorious 19 April front page mendacity, ‘THE TRUTH’ (see paragraph 144 on p25):

Documents disclosed to the Panel show that the allegations were filed by White’s News Agency, a Sheffield-based company. They were based on meetings over three days between agency staff and several police officers, together with interviews with Irvine Patnick MP and the South Yorkshire Police Federation Secretary, Paul Middup.

Furthermore, Middup and other SYPF members met on the morning of 19 April – the day the paper came out, with its lurid claims that fans robbed corpses, pissed on cops assisting the injured and other such fabrications – to discuss how to continue “putting our side of the story over to the press and media”. Middup claimed that the South Yorkshire Chief Constable Peter Wright had given him and the Fed a “free hand” and “support” in pushing this narrative. Wright himself later joined this ‘Special Joint Branch Board Meeting’, emphasising how he as Chief Constable would not talk to the media about fan behaviour, but that he endorsed what Middup was saying. The meeting’s minutes have Wright saying “if anybody should be blamed, it should be the drunken ticketless individuals” (see pp353-6).

What is Paul Middup doing these days? Well, Paul Middup – or more completely Paul Middup BEM MBIM – left the police and became chief executive of the South Yorkshire Police credit union serving additionally as a director for the Sheffield Credit Union Development Agency from July 2000 until its dissolution in 2006. He would appear to have spent the past six years enjoying his retirement with his wife in a former mining town between Rotherham and Sheffield.

Possibly he would not like to be remembered for his role in perpetuating lies about the Hillsborough slaughterhouse – lies he pushed from the very beginning.

Here he is talking on Yorkshire Television on Sunday 16 April 1989. That’s right, whilst the 96th victim Tony Bland was still being kept alive, Paul Middup was ranting on TV blaming fans. [ETA: ITV has now dug up this interview and are currently hosting it on their website.]


[Presenter in YTV studio: Well meanwhile, an official of South Yorkshire Police Federation says his members should be proud of their actions on Saturday.]

[Reporter Chris Kiddey: 800 police were on duty in and around Hillsborough; when disaster struck they were among the first to tend the injured. Most are members of the policeman’s union, the Police Federation. Their spokesman feels they’ve been unfairly singled out for criticism…]

I am sick of seeing on television and reading in the press these instant experts. Doctors and a few lawyers, who all seem to know more about our job than we do, telling us what we should’ve done, that if there had been police officers just inside those gates that day funnelling people into the outer areas, then this wouldn’t have happened.

And I’m saying to you that if police officers had’ve been in there, when this mob surged through, the police officers would’ve been trampled to death underneath it. You just can’t handle them. And the vast majority of that lot had been drinking, the ones that were arriving late, and they will not be told what to do, they won’t do anything you try to do, and what can you do?

[Chris Kiddey: So, are you saying the fans are to blame, then?]

The police certainly aren’t to blame, because if the fans do what the police are asking them to do there wouldn’t be any problem, because people would be orderly. And if people were orderly they wouldn’t have these problems. You can’t crush all those people if people were orderly. It’s just not possible, unless you know a way that I don’t.

[Chris Kiddey: It’ll be up to the public and external police enquiry to establish exactly what went wrong. The Federation’s view is simple:]

If they can’t have these matches without all this upset, both to the people who are attending it and those who’ve got the job of sorting it all out, then it shouldn’t take place. Let them watch it on television or something like that.

My people should not be asked to go into situations like that where it’s always a no-win situation for us. They shouldn’t have [inaudible], that’s not necessary.

Truth is not justice. The guilty have never been held to account.





Report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel

Remembering the 96 who died, remembering those who survived

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster.

‘Why?’ by 25th Of May

Laughing at policemen (all the way to Millbank)

Tomorrow is the Police Federation rally and march down in that there Lunnon.

Apparently coppers aren’t paid enough. Apparently police “regularly face danger in the course of their duties”. Apparently “the demands and requirements of the office of constable cannot be compared with any other occupation”.

So, our clip-on tie-wearing friends in serge have decided that they are, in fact, the horny-handed vanguard of the workers. They are even talking about the possibility of forming a trades union should their noble struggle for “an element of compensation for the move from a private sector index to a public sector index at the most disadvantageous time” be rebuffed by the government – rousing words indeed.

So, should you wish to get behind these brave custodians of the streets and their selfless cause, you can join their demonstration and let them know what you think of them.

It will assemble on Park Lane at the junction with Achilles Way from 10am, and will head towards Millbank via Hyde Park Corner, Grosvenor Place, Lower Grosvenor Place, Bressenden Place, Victoria Street, Artillery Row, Great Peter Street, Marsham Street and Horseferry Road, before dispersing at the Tate.

If you are concerned about the orderliness of the event, you can pop along to the stewards’ briefing at Central Hall at 8.30am (there’ll even be tea and coffee, and come to think of it, probably breakfast doughnuts).

If that still hasn’t set your mind at rest, fear not:

The event will be policed by the Metropolitan Police Public Order Team who are responsible for public safety and public order. Approximately 100 Metropolitan Federation stewards will assist the police to marshall [sic] the rally in accordance with the agreed route and plan. They will be ably assisted by stewards from Federation branch boards.

Don’t you feel safer already?

Well, it seems the porkers themselves are feeling a little nervous:

Our march has received a lot of media attention. It is therefore possible that small groups with any grievance against the police may seek to stage counter demonstrations. The Metropolitan Police are monitoring this, and if need be, will deal with any impromptu protests. We would ask that you do not react to any taunts, do not get involved and allow our Metropolitan colleagues to police as they see appropriate. We do not want other peoples’ protests to become the story of the day.

Ooooooh, narky!

After all, what possible “grievance” might anyone have with the polis?

If you want to find out, well, you could pop along to the ‘Boo A Bobby’ event organised entirely coincidentally by London Class War. Quite by chance they’ve only gone and called it for 11am at Achilles Lane on the very same day!

Similarly, FITwatch* have put out a call for those wishing to ensure that “violent trouble makers and threats to public order, including veterans from J18, Mayday and G8…”** are kept under overt surveillance throughout the day to assemble at the Tyburn pub on the Edgware Road (Marble Arch tube) at 9.30am.

But let’s hope that things go swimmingly for our poor ickle jacks, and that no one deflects attention from their cause, which obviously is more important on every level than, say, pit villages, or the poll tax, or the right to free speech, or poverty…

*That* ATNA Harry Roberts poster…To download a PDF of the Police Federation’s brochure explaining all about why they’re demonstrating, click the picture on the right! (It’s the back cover from an old fanzine, All Talk No Action #3… If you want an A4-sized, 300 dpi copy, go to my Flickr 🙂 )

* FITwatch is a group of concerned citizens who disrupt unlawful, distressing or downright harassing police surveillance units – ‘Forward Intelligence Teams’ – at protests.

** Hint: the ones with the blue flashing lights