The Police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, has released a statement after Sir Norman Bettison's resignation as Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police.
We note the announcement about Sir Norman Bettison. He is the subject of two IPCC investigations: the investigation into the Hillsborough aftermath, which is looking at potential criminal offences and misconduct matters, and the referral received on 10 October. This referral was in relation to an allegation that he attempted to influence the decision-making process of West Yorkshire Police Authority in connection with complaints they had received about his role in the Hillsborough aftermath / his recent statements to the press. This second investigation is looking at misconduct matters but at this stage, we do not consider that there is any indication of criminal offences.
The IPCC wrote to the Police Authority on 23 October with our provisional view about whether the allegations which are the subject of the second investigation would amount to misconduct or gross misconduct (i.e. whether they would justify dismissal). We were aware that the Police Authority were meeting at lunchtime today to discuss this. In accordance with the legislation, we had advised the Police Authority that suspension was a matter for them, but we should be consulted. We were not informed of Sir Norman's resignation in advance of the stories appearing in the press and the decision came as a surprise to us. We are seeking clarification from West Yorkshire Police Authority.
We note Sir Norman's public statement that he intends to co-operate with our investigations. It should be noted we can and, in this case, will investigate both criminal offences and misconduct matters after an officer has retired or resigned as it is in the public interest to do so. Retirement or resignation precludes any internal misconduct sanction as once an individual leaves the police service there is no opportunity to take disciplinary action. Retirement or resignation does not prevent criminal prosecution should the investigation identify criminal offences, including misconduct in a public office.