South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful ‘secret society’ the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his local lodge – a worshipful master – the year after the 1989 disaster.
The match commander, 46 in 1989, was handed control of F Division, which included policing games at Hillsborough, just three weeks before the tragedy.
He was forced to admit at the inquests that he had no experience of policing football, did not know Hillsborough and ‘wasn’t the best man for the job’.
At the time there was fury among colleagues who believed it was his freemasons membership that was behind his promotion.
When asked during the inquest of was influenced by his membership of the so-called ‘secret society’, but added: ‘I would hope not.’
His predecessor Brian Mole, now dead, had also been a member of the same lodge, jurors were told.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), as part of its overall investigation into alleged criminality and misconduct, has examined concerns from the Hillsborough families over Freemason membership.
The United Grand Lodge of England has provided information including historical attendance records of meetings.
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