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Sir Norman Bettison Resigns

Sir Norman Bettison has resigned as chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, saying an inquiry into his role after the Hillsborough tragedy was "a distraction" to the force.

In 1999, the Hillsborough victims’ families launched private prosecutions for manslaughter and misconduct in public office against two former police officers who had been in overall command at the match. At the trial in 2000, superintendent Bernard Murray was represented by Simon Myerson QC and was acquitted. The jury could not reach a verdict on chief superintendent David Duckenfield. An application for a retrial was refused.

Under the current investigation, advice is being sought from Nigel R Edwards on behalf of those who are the subject of that ongoing investigation.

The following article is taken from 24 October 2012 BBC News

Sir Norman Bettison has resigned as chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, saying an inquiry into his role after the Hillsborough tragedy was "a distraction" to the force.

At the time of the disaster he was a South Yorkshire Police inspector who attended the match as a spectator and later took part in an internal inquiry.  Sir Norman said questions over his role had become a "distraction to policing".

He had been due to retire in March but had faced calls for him to go early.  Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said: "I'm absolutely delighted he's gone but as far as I am concerned he should have been sacked.

"I would now like to know what payments and pension he's going to get. "Any financial benefits should be frozen until the outcome of the investigation into the cover-up."

West Yorkshire Police Authority said media attention and the investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) were "proving to be a huge distraction for the force".

Statements altered

Sir Norman has been referred to the IPCC over allegations he provided misleading information after the disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

 “I share the view that this has become a distraction to policing inWest Yorkshirenow and in the future” Sir Norman Bettison

Last month, a report by the Independent Hillsborough Panel revealed 164 police statements by South Yorkshire Police were altered - 116 of them to remove or change negative comments about the policing of the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool andNottinghamForest at theSheffield stadium.

It revealed a cover-up took place to shift the blame on to the victims, and that 41 of the 96 who died could have potentially been saved if they had received treatment earlier.

Sir Norman's resignation comes after candidates bidding to becomeWest Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner called for him to stand down now rather than retire in March as planned.

In a statement, he said: "The police authority, and some of the candidates in the forthcoming PCC elections, have made it clear that they wish me to go sooner.

'Deep concerns'

"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 inWest Yorkshirenow and in the future."

The police authority said Deputy Chief Constable John Parkinson would take up the role of acting chief constable.  A Home Office spokesperson said Sir Norman's resignation was "a matter for the police authority".

Policing minister Damian Green said it was important that theWest Yorkshireforce was able to get on with the job of policing.

"If the inevitable deep concerns surrounding all of this - which, clearly, would be very, very understandable - were getting in the way of doing that job, then it is clearly sensible to allow West Yorkshire Police to get on with their important work."

 

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