Former police chief defends new book about Hillsborough disaster

A former police chief who says he has been made a scapegoat for the actions of South Yorkshire Police in the days after the Hillsborough disaster, has published his new book today.

Sir Norman Bettison, the former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire and Merseyside Police says he wants to give his side of the story for the first time.

He has been accused of painting a negative picture of the Liverpool fans in a report he helped prepare in the weeks after Hillsborough for the lawyers working for the South Yorkshire force.

He is currently being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) about allegations that he attempted to pervert the course of justice in 1989, something he denies.

His book is called Hillsborough Untold and Mr Bettison says he wants readers to approach it with an open mind.

The 60-year-old has come under fire from families of the 96 victims of the disaster, who claim he was part of a cover up by South Yorkshire officers.

Mr Bettison was a Chief Inspector with South Yorkshire Police at the time of the disaster, in April 1989.

He witnessed the tragedy as a spectator at the match.

Norman Bettison comes face to face with members of the Hillsborough family support group as he attends an emergency meeting of the Merseyside Police Authority which is looking at his appointment as the new Chief Constable of Merseyside in 1998 Credit: PA

Since then, he has found himself one of the focal points of outrage over the actions of the police.

Comments he made in the wake of the Hillsborough Independent Panel in 2012 stoked further criticism in the press and in Parliament and, in October 2012, he resigned from his job as Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police.

  • Sir Norman Bettison says 'I've done nothing criminal'

He says this personal account describes how the Hillsborough disaster unfolded, provides an insight into what was happening at South Yorkshire Police headquarters in the aftermath, and gives an objective and compassionate account of the bereaved families’ long struggle for justice, all the while charting this journey from innocent bystander to a symbol of a perceived criminal conspiracy.

Relatives of the victims who died in the Hillsborough disaster outside the Hillsborough Inquest in Warrington, where the inquest jury concluded that the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed Credit: PA

Sir Norman says he will be donating the proceeds from the book to two charities, one of which is based in Liverpool.

Click below to see Duncan's full interview: