As Sir Norman Bettison left the police service in October 2012 he cannot face a disciplinary hearing in which the evidence could be tested. Instead the IPCC has published its findings for the public to judge.
The Hillsborough disaster and its aftermath have become synonymous in the public consciousness with allegations of police attempts to cover-up the truth, manipulate messages and deflect blame. Sir Norman is facing investigation in relation to allegations that he played a key part in this. We do not pre-judge the findings of that investigation.
However, given the effect that those allegations have had on the public perception of him and policing generally, his attempts to manipulate and manage the perception of the referral of complaints about him, for his own self-interest, is particularly concerning. It is also conduct that falls far short of what should be expected of any Chief Constable. It was the IPCC's view at the start of the investigation, as it was the view of his Police Authority, that Sir Norman's actions, if proven, fell so far short of what is expected of a Chief Constable that dismissal would be justified.
The evidence uncovered during the investigation supports that view. While we cannot bring this case to misconduct proceedings, we can publish the evidence and our conclusions, so that the public can judge for themselves. This case should also serve as a salutary reminder to chief officers everywhere of how much public confidence in policing is damaged when the conduct of leaders is called into question. "
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