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Why is Bettison being investigated over Hillsborough?

The IPCC will today publish its report into Sir Norman Bettison following an investigation into whether he supplied misleading information after the Hillsborough tragedy.

Key facts:

  • Bettison was a chief inspector with South Yorkshire Police at the time of the disaster
  • A spectator at the match, he was involved in the police investigation into what happened
  • He resigned from West Yorkshire Police in October amid controversy over his handling of the aftermath of the tragedy
  • Sir Norman was referred to the IPCC last year following allegations he "concocted a false story of what happened"
  • He has always strenuously denied any wrongdoing

Former chief constable faces Hillsborough verdict

Bettison resigned from West Yorkshire Police in 2012. Credit: Dave Higgens/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A report into alleged misconduct by former West Yorkshire Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison, in relation to the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy, is expected today.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been investigating allegations he gave misleading information after the tragedy, at which time he was chief inspector with South Yorkshire Police.

Sir Norman has always denied being involved in any cover-up.


Police Authority: Bettison's pension untouchable unless he is convicted

Merseyside Police Authority met today to discuss Sir Norman Bettison's resignation from West Yorkshire Police and his pension arrangements.

Sir Norman formerly served as Chief Constable with Merseyside Police.

With regards to the matter of pensions forfeiture, the only circumstance a Police Authority or Police and Crime Commissioner can seek permission to forfeit a pension from the Home Secretary is if a police officer has been convicted of a criminal offence.

The value of Norman Bettison’s pension is currently £83,000 per annum.

I would like to make it clear that this is at no specific cost to the Merseyside tax payer.

Whilst his pension will be paid through Merseyside Police Authority, police pensions are funded, ultimately, through general taxation.

– Paul Johnson, Chief Executive and Treasurer, Merseyside Police Authority
  1. Lucy Manning

Sir Norman Bettison could potentially lose 65% of pension

Sir Normal Bettison will walk away with a pension of around £83,000 a year - that's from Merseyside Police where he was chief constable.

The only way he can lose that is if - and it's a big if - he faces criminal charges and then, potentially, he could only lose up to 65% of it.

The Merseyside Police Authority's hands are tied on that. They are having a meeting tomorrow but there's not much they can do at the moment.

And as Sir Norman told me, he insists he has done nothing wrong and believes that the IPCC investigation will clear him.

IPCC: Bettison's resignation does not preclude possible prosecution

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has released a statement regarding Sir Norman Bettison's resignation.

The IPCC is currently pursuing two separate investigations involving Mr Bettison. The first is looking at "potential criminal offences" and the second at "misconduct matters".

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 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 does not prevent criminal prosecution should the investigation identify criminal offences, including misconduct in a public office.

– ipcc statement


Merseyside Police 'considering implications' of Bettison pension in light of resignation

A spokeswoman for Merseyside Police Authority has said that the force's treasurer is "considering the implications this [Sir Norman Bettison's resignation] might have for Merseyside Police Authority" - including by implication the issue of his pension.

She confirmed that if Mr Bettison had stood down in March 2013 as planned, he would have been entitled to a pension worth £83,000 per annum.

Bettison stepped aside with 'best interests of policing in mind'

Sir Norman Bettison has given nearly 40 years of his life to public service, during which his contribution at both local and national level has helped keep citizens safe and deliver better policing.

As he has pointed out, there is a due process to deal with allegations, including those made from the floor of the House, through the IPCC and criminal law.

West Yorkshire Police Authority have today recognised Sir Norman's contribution, and it is in keeping with that record that his decision to step aside is made with the best interests of policing in West Yorkshire in mind.

– Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers
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