Responding to complaints over disruption, the force said it “established beyond doubt that the police action, in letting spectators onto the track, was not only necessary but was vital to avoid further serious injuries and possibly save life.
In this respect, my only criticism of my senior officers is for not opening the gates earlier and thus avoiding the emergency measure of allowing and helping spectators to climb over the fence.”
However, in the years before Liverpool’s match against Nottingham Forest, radial fences to separate fans were then installed.
Mr Matthews, continuing his opening for a second day, said two South Yorkshire Police evidence gathering teams had hand-held video cameras and were outside the ground recording some of the crowd’s movements towards the stadium.
However, instead of prioritising crowd safety, Mr Matthews said: “The Club system had been installed primarily to deter fraud, not for safety reasons: to prevent turnstile operators allowing people in without a ticket for pocketed cash.”
On each turnstile, an electronic switch recorded when a person went through the turnstile, which displayed onto the computer screen in the control room.
Each turnstile also had an ‘electronic eye’ at eye level within the turnstile.
The electronic eye would be triggered if anyone climbed over the turnstile, which was termed an illegal entry.