UK

Hillsborough: Former Police Chief Norman Bettison 'Has A Case To Answer'

28/03/2013 12:20 GMT | Updated 28/03/2013 12:28 GMT

A former chief constable has a case to answer for gross misconduct in the wake of the Hillsborough revelations - but he will avoid disciplinary proceedings.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said Sir Norman Bettison tried to "protect his own position" when faced with an investigation.

Bettison, the former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, had a case to answer for "discreditable conduct and abuse of authority", the IPCC said.

bettison

Bettison has now left the police force

It said Bettison, 57, interfered with the West Yorkshire Police Authority's process of referring him to the commission in the wake of the Hillsborough Independent Report.

If he had not resigned, this could justify his dismissal.

His solicitor, John Harding, questioned the fairness of the watchdog's investigation.

Harding said Bettison had voluntarily attended interview and offered witnesses.

"Since there can be no formal misconduct hearing, my client is denied the opportunity to call those witnesses, which the IPCC declined to interview, and is denied the opportunity to put his case and challenge other evidence, which calls into question the fairness of such a process," he added.

The investigation focused on an allegation Bettison tried to influence the police authority when it was considering this broader referral to the commission.

The report concluded: "It is concerning that his first thoughts appear to have been to protect his own position."

It added: "While it was evident Sir Norman made no attempt to prevent the referral happening, the IPCC investigation concluded that he attempted to manipulate the public perception of the referral process for his own self interest."

The commission said the former chief constable "had a case to answer for discreditable conduct and abuse of authority, breaches which, if proven in a disciplinary hearing, would amount to gross misconduct as they would justify dismissal".

But the commission accepted Bettison could not face disciplinary proceedings because he is no longer a serving officer.

Bettison was a chief inspector with South Yorkshire police at the time of the 1989 disaster.

He is facing a broader IPCC inquiry into his conduct following the 1989 disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans died at Sheffield Wednesday's ground in South Yorkshire.