The criminal investigation team examining the disaster was called Operation Resolve. After the acquittal of David Duckenfield, its commander, Assistant Commissioner Rob Beckley, said:
"My first thoughts are with the 96 people who died in the
Hillsborough disaster, their families, and the thousands of people who have
been deeply affected by the events of 15th April 1989.
"The jury had a difficult and challenging task examining
evidence going back decades and I respect their decision.
"It may sound like a cliché to say “lessons must be
learnt”, but today’s verdict means this has never been more relevant or
important .It is right that an
impartial and thorough investigation was carried out, and it is right that a
jury was asked to make a judgement of the facts. What is wrong is that it has taken 30 years
to get to this point.
"The passage of 30 years has presented challenges for
everyone involved in the legal process, prosecution and defence. Thirty years means
evidence has been corroded and some people and organisations cannot answer for
their actions because they are no longer with us.
"Thirty years means myths took
root about fans being a cause of the disaster, now unequivocally shown by both
defence and prosecution evidence to be wrong.
"And 30 years means many people, especially families, have had to
constantly relive their terrible experience.
"When all Hillsborough legal proceedings are concluded we
should, as a society, take time to consider these matters and learn
lessons. For the sake of the 96 innocent
people who died 30 years ago, something like this should never happen again."