Bettison resignation: full statement from Police Authority

Sir Norman Bettison Credit: PA file picture

Full statement from West Yorkshire Police Authority about the resignation of Sir Norman Bettison.

West Yorkshire Police Authority has announced today that it has accepted Sir Norman Bettison’s resignation with immediate effect.

The Chief Constable’s resignation was tendered this morning, before a meeting of the Authority’s Special Committee to consider matters arising out of the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report.

Vice-Chair of the Police Authority, Councillor Les Carter said: “I can confirm that the Police Authority has accepted Sir Norman’s resignation with immediate effect. The media attention and Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation is proving to be a huge distraction for the Force, at a time when it is trying to maintain performance and make savings of £100 million. We therefore believe that his decision is in the best interest of the communities of West Yorkshire.

“Sir Norman has been West Yorkshire’s Chief Constable since 2006. It should be recognised that Sir Norman has served West Yorkshire well. He has reduced crime, increased confidence in policing and made a huge contribution to neighbourhood policing. On behalf of the Police Authority, I would like to thank him for what he has achieved here and wish him the best for the future.

“The continued leadership of the Force is of paramount importance and I have asked the Deputy Chief Constable, John Parkinson to take up the role of acting Chief Constable, subject to the formal approval of the Full Authority.”

Sir Norman said: ”I wish to make four points, and hope that each will be fairly reported.

“First, and foremost, the Hillsborough tragedy, 23 years ago, left 96 families bereaved and countless others injured and affected by it. I have always felt the deepest compassion and sympathy for the families, and I recognise their longing to understand exactly what happened on that April afternoon. I have never blamed the fans for causing the tragedy.

“Secondly, I refute the report of a conversation 23 years ago. The suggestion that I would say to a passing acquaintance that I was deployed as part of a team tasked to ‘concoct a false story of what happened’, is both incredible and wrong. That isn’t what I was tasked to do, and I did not say that.

“Thirdly, there is a due process to deal with any allegation through the IPCC and the criminal law. I remain consistent in my desire to assist those enquiries to the full, both now and in the future. These processess hould help to separate facts from speculation.

“Fourthly, I sought to remain in post to address those allegations. It now appears that that will take some time. The Police Authority, and some of the candidates in the forthcoming PCC elections, have made it clear that they wish me to go sooner. I do so, not because of any allegations about the past, but because I share the view that this has become a distraction to policing in West Yorkshire now and in the future.

“I have therefore agreed to retire within the statutory notice period. It has been a privilege to serve the public as a Police Officer for more than 40 years and I wish the Force and the Police Service every success for the future.”