1. ITV Report

Former police chief Sir Norman Bettison referred to IPCC over Stephen Lawrence family claims

Sir Norman Bettison was separately accused of involvement in a police cover up in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster. Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

A former chief constable of West Yorkshire who was implicated in the Hillsborough cover-up has been linked to a campaign to smear the Stephen Lawrence family.

Sir Norman Bettison has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission amid fears officers tried to discredit the Lawrence family members.

ITV News' UK Editor Lucy Manning reports:

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire said it had "significant concerns" about Sir Norman's conduct at the time of the 1998 Macpherson Inquiry, which examined police conduct while investigating Lawrence's murder in a racist attack in April 1993.

Bettison faced no retrospective action for his role in Hillsborough and the subsequent cover up having stepped down while facing a disciplinary investigation.

Doreen Lawrence recently met with police to discuss claims that undercover officers hunted for information to smear her family. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

His separate referral to the IPCC follows a search for evidence across the police service of similar behaviour to that which attempted to discredit the Lawrence family when they were the target of covert surveillance as they sought justice for their son's killing.

Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said three documents which emerged in a "thorough" search requested by the force's current chief constable had called Sir Norman's behaviour into question. He said:

These documents raise significant concerns over the role of Sir Norman Bettison in commissioning a report to be prepared in the respect of a key witness appearing before the Macpherson Inquiry.

This may suggest an attempt to intervene in the course of a public inquiry and influence the manner in which the testimony of a witness, who was due to present evidence before it, was received.

PCC Burns-Williamson also called for the police treatment of Lawrence's family to be urgently reviewed by an independent body.

He said: "I am sure the Independent Police Complaints Commission will do the same for these separate issues of concern indicating possible corrupt practices in the later period around the Macpherson Inquiry."