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Sir Norman Bettison statement

The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police has announced he is to retire in March 2013. The following statement has been released by the force on his behalf.

"Recent weeks have caused me to reflect on what is best for the future of policing in West Yorkshire and I have now decided to set a firm date for my retirement of 31 March 2013. I have offered this proposal to my Police Authority."


Sir Norman meets police bosses

The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, who's facing an inquiry over his involvement in an alleged police cover up after the Hillsborough Disaster has today said it's business as usual, as he faced members of his police authority.

It was Sir Norman Bettison's first meeting with them since he was referred to the official police watchdog. David Hirst reports.

Complaint against West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable goes to IPCC

At a meeting today of West Yorkshire Police Authority’s Special Committee, its members agreed to record a complaint against the Chief Constable, Sir Norman Bettison, and immediately referred it to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for investigation.

"A number of factors led to the Committee taking the decision to refer the complaint to the IPCC, including the gravity of the subject matter, the wholly exceptional circumstances and a pressing need to maintain public confidence in both policing governance and the police complaints system.

“It is important that the facts are fully established and evidence considered from other sources before any further decisions are taken. The IPCC, as an independent body with a statutory duty to uphold the police complaints system, is best placed to conduct such investigations.”

– Richard Baldwin, Chair of the Special Committee

Sir Norman was an off-duty South Yorkshire Police inspector when he attended the game and was involved in an internal inquiry held by the force in its aftermath. On Thursday he denied any wrongdoing but sparked fury with his comments, which led to calls for him to resign.

Hillsborough father: "We will catch up with the villains"

Trevor Hicks, from Keighley, West Yorkshire, who lost daughters Vicky, 15, and Sarah, 19, in the tragedy, said the families would not speculate on what charges should be brought before they had reviewed the evidence.

David Crompton is the first chief constable who has ever actually done anything about Hillsborough and we commend him for it and we thank him for it.

Our view is that if criminal actions have taken place then criminal charges should follow.

Exactly what those criminal charges should be is a matter we will look into when we review the evidence.

– Trevor Hicks

Reviews have been ordered South Yorkshire Police, police authorities in West Yorkshire into the actions of Sir Norman Bettison, and West Midlands, which also conducted an investigation into the disaster.

Sir Norman has today said he does not blame the fans for the tragedy,

That is despite a statement yesterday saying the fans behaviour made the policing job "harder than it needed to be".

Mr Hicks said the Hillsborough Families Support Group, does not accept his statements about his role and pledged that the families will follow all the reviews and inquiries closely.

We've been let down by the state but we didn't give up for 23 years and you can be sure, now we have been vindicated, that we will ensure that this time the state does the right thing,

This goes beyond Hillsborough, it's about the public having confidence in the police and other authorities.

This has to be cleaned up and society needs to see it has been cleaned up and we will ensure it is cleaned up, no matter how long it takes.

We will catch up with the villains, no question about that."

– Trevor Hicks


Sir Norman Bettison says fans were "in no way to blame"

The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, Sir Norman Bettison, has confirmed fans were not responsible for the Hillsborough disaster. It follows criticism, including from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, about his statement on the tragedy yesterday.

Let me speak very clearly. The fans of Liverpool Football Club were in no way to blame for the disaster that unfolded at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989.

– Sir Norman Bettison, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire

He continued:

I formed this clear view on hearing all the evidence that was presented at the Taylor Enquiry, having sat through every day from its beginning, just four weeks after the tragedy, through to its conclusion. The evidence was overwhelming. The police failed to control the situation, which ultimately led to the tragic deaths of 96 entirely innocent people. I can be no plainer than that and I am sorry if my earlier statement, intended to convey the same message, has caused any further upset.

– Sir Norman Bettison, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire

He added:

My role was never to besmirch the fans. I did not do that. I am deeply sorry that impression and slight has lingered for 23 years.

– Sir Norman Bettison, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire

Nick Clegg says Sir Norman Bettison needs "to clarify what he meant" after Hillsborough comments

Our correspondent, Ben Erlam, has been speaking to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in Sheffield after a statement from the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, Sir Norman Bettison, in which he said:

"Fans behaviour, to the extent that it was relevant at all, made the job of the police, in the crush outside Leppings Lane turnstiles, harder than it needed to be"

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