South Yorkshire Police set aside £11m for potential Rotherham scandal and Hillsborough Disaster compensation

South Yorkshire Police Headquarters on Carbrook Hall Road, Sheffield
South Yorkshire Police Headquarters on Carbrook Hall Road, Sheffield

South Yorkshire Police has set aside £11m for potential compensation payouts relating to the Rotherham grooming scandal and the Hillsborough Disaster.

Details were revealed at a meeting of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel at Rotherham Town Hall.

A report to the meeting by chief finance officer Allan Rainford said of the force’s current £23m total reserves, £11m has been put aside for an ‘insurance reserve’ which ‘will be needed to support any future compensation payments’.

The report said: “The costs of any compensation claims that may be submitted as a result of some of the issues that South Yorkshire currently faces – including CSE and Hillsborough Inquests – will have to be met from this reserve. At the present time the potential costs of claims, are unknown.”

Rotherham councillor Caven Vines, a member of the police and crime panel, asked whether £11m would be sufficient ‘in light of possible CSE claims across South Yorkshire and other things’.

Mr Rainford said the current amount set aside is based on the information available at the moment but added that may need to be reassessed in future.

The meeting also heard the Home Office has agreed to provide the force with more money towards the legal bills of eight former officers involved with the ongoing Hillsborough inquest procedure - but has set a strict limit on what it will grant for further costs.

After previously agreeing to cover £10.7m of the legal bill for the inquest process that started in March 2014, Home Secretary Theresa May has now agreed to up the Government’s contribution to £14.5m for the costs incurred during 2013/14 and 2014/15.

That change meant South Yorkshire Police has only been responsible for £2.3m of the costs.

But Mr Rainford told the meeting the Home Office have said they will only contribute a maximum £1m towards the costs for this financial year for the legal bill, which has already reached £1.4m.

Police and crime commissioner Alan Billings said Ms May has told him she is ‘prepared to listen to us again’ about the prospect of more Government funding being provided after upping the amount available for the last two years.

He said: “I’m hoping the Home Secretary will be equally as responsive next time around.”

The PCC’s office has also opened talks with the legal firms representing the former officers about them finding ‘alternative sources of funding’ to meet the costs.