Bradford MPs welcome police chief's resignation over Hillsborough claims (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford MPs welcome police chief's resignation over Hillsborough claims
Under-fire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison was right to resign as allegations over his behaviour following the Hillsborough disaster were damaging the good name of West Yorkshire Police, MPs believe.
Sir Norman tendered his resignation at a special meeting of West Yorkshire Police Authority yesterday after a growing clamour for him to step down earlier than his announced retirement in March.
More allegations dating back to when he was a chief inspector with South Yorkshire Police were made this week in Parliament, including reports of a conversation he supposedly had in a pub in which he allegedly said he was “concocting” a story about the disaster for South Yorkshire Police, which he strenuously denies.
It was also said Sir Norman “boasted” about smearing Liverpool fans in the aftermath of the disaster.
Deputy Chief Constable John Parkinson will take up the role of acting Chief Constable.
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said: “Sir Norman’s position has been untenable for some time and, in the wake of further allegations made against him earlier this week, it became a question of whether he jumped before he was pushed.
“His insistence on staying in post has damaged the proud name of West Yorkshire Police, and that should be a matter of deep regret to him. I now look forward to the outcome of the ongoing Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation.”
Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe said: “Clearly given what is happening his position was untenable and resigning was the right thing to do for the good of the force. We will now wait to see what happens. Everyone is shocked at the number of police officers believed to be involved in all of this.”
Bradford East MP David Ward said: “It was inevitable and it is regrettable that push came to shove really. I would have thought that really this decision is inevitable and should have happened before now. It is regrettable it took so long as it did.”
Sir Norman is under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission for his actions following the Hillsborough disaster.
His resignation will enable him to take his full pension entitlement for his time as an officer, reported to be an estimated £88,000 a year.
Bradford West MP George Galloway said the resignation was not enough but said he was glad Sir Norman had finally been forced to “do the decent thing”.
He added: “His position has been untenable since the Hillsborough report came out and it speaks volumes for his judgement that he believed he could hold on to his salary and the reins of power to go at a time of his choosing.
“He is gone and good riddance. The criminal inquiry is ongoing but the verdict is on Sir Norman Bettison. I will now be calling for him to be stripped of his knighthood and his pension.”
Shipley MP Philip Davies said: “As it happens I always got along well with Norman Bettison and I thought he did an excellent job as chief constable of West Yorkshire Police.
“It is has come to the point he has lost the confidence of the people at the Police Authority and the police force itself, the position becomes untenable and he had no alternative in the end. Time will tell about what happened at Hillsborough and that information will come about in the future. Speaking separately with that aside, it would be unfair to say anything but that he did an excellent job as chief constable of West Yorkshire.”
The Police Authority said the IPPC report and the media attention was proving a distraction at a time when the force was trying to maintain performance and make £100 million of savings. Vice-chairman Councillor Les Carter said: “We therefore believe that his decision is in the best interest of the communities of West Yorkshire.”