West Yorkshire’s top police constable will be investigated over football disaster

Allan Bland, from Keighley, father of Hillsborough victim, Tony

Sir Norman Bettison will be under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

The Keighley father of Hillsborough victim Tony Bland has welcomed the announcement of the biggest ever inquiry into police actions in the UK, following a hard-hitting report on the disaster.

Police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) yesterday said a large number of serving and former police officers would be investigated over what happened on the day of the tragedy in 1989, and during the alleged cover-up afterwards.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keir Starmer said he would look at whether any individual or corporate body should be charged over the football stadium disaster.

IPCC deputy chairman Deborah Glass yesterday revealed that among the officers under investigation would be West Yorkshire Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison, whose conduct was referred to them by West Yorkshire Police Authority over allegations that he provided misleading information.

Miss Glass also revealed that Sir Norman was under investigation for allegations that he “attempted to influence the decision-making process of the West Yorkshire Police Authority” in connection with the referral.

Tony Bland was the 96th victim of the disaster. He spent nearly four years in a persistent vegetative state after his brain was starved of oxygen in the crush. He was allowed to die with dignity, aged 22, at Airedale General Hospital, Steeton, in 1993, after his parents won a legal battle to allow a life-sustaining feeding tube to be removed.

His father, Allan, said the investigation had to be done “thoroughly”.

He said: “It’s going to take time obviously, but it is welcome and we do think it should be done and it is to be a thorough investigation. It’s going to be a long drawn-out job.”

West Yorkshire Police Authority’s vice-chairman, Councillor Les Carter, said yesterday: “The police authority’s special committee met again recently and decided to voluntarily refer a conduct matter concerning the chief constable to the IPCC for an independent investigation.

“We will offer the commission every assistance in what we hope will be a prompt and proportionate investigation, but we do not think it is appropriate to elaborate further, as we don’t want to prejudice it in any way.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Sir Norman Bettison has consistently made the point since September 15, three days after the report was published, that these were matters that needed to be investigated formally and fairly by the IPCC.

“At the time, he immediately welcomed the police authority’s decision to refer this matter.

“He is on record as saying he is keen to co-operate with the IPCC inquiry, but now that has been launched, he has nothing further to add.”

West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Jon Christopher said questions needed to be asked about the police authority referral and said everything was being rushed.

He said: “Perhaps we need to sit back and take stock on where we are before commencing the investigation.

“There is time here to deal with this properly, look at all the options and make a decision. Knee-jerk reactions are not good for anybody.

“I think the IPCC, and even the DPP, have to be careful what they say at this point. It would be remiss of them to come out with public statements that could be taken out of context. Let’s get the investigation moving, see where it ends, and then make some balanced opinions.”

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:17am Sat 13 Oct 12

king kong 1 says...

Lets hope this can be sorted asap and find the main people responsable for that sad day and give proper justice for the 96 and there familys.
Lets hope this can be sorted asap and find the main people responsable for that sad day and give proper justice for the 96 and there familys. king kong 1
  • Score: 0

11:59am Sat 13 Oct 12

Mik_e says...

Bettison should be suspended and not allowed to retire and retain his pension until the investigation is concluded.
Bettison should be suspended and not allowed to retire and retain his pension until the investigation is concluded. Mik_e
  • Score: 0

6:36pm Sat 13 Oct 12

Victor Clayton says...

police officers being able to retire to avoid disciplinary proceedings is completely out of order. the office that caused the death of the news paper seller in London had actually been allowed to retire to avoid charges of heavy handedness, only to be reemployed. i think this is the 3rd cheif that have been allowed to retire early over Hillsbough. how ironic that the police can aviod justice so easily! having said that Bettison wasn't even on duty that day and I am not sure he has done anything wrong. but as Mike says, gets decided after the investigation.
police officers being able to retire to avoid disciplinary proceedings is completely out of order. the office that caused the death of the news paper seller in London had actually been allowed to retire to avoid charges of heavy handedness, only to be reemployed. i think this is the 3rd cheif that have been allowed to retire early over Hillsbough. how ironic that the police can aviod justice so easily! having said that Bettison wasn't even on duty that day and I am not sure he has done anything wrong. but as Mike says, gets decided after the investigation. Victor Clayton
  • Score: 0

7:26pm Sun 14 Oct 12

collos25 says...

I would not believe a word coming out of Bettisons mouth he has told so many untruths regarding this matter and other things during his service with WYP I totally agree why should he be allowed to retire or get his pension he should be tried in a court of law and if found guilty should suffer the penalty.Perhaps there is one set of laws for one and another for the rest of us.
I would not believe a word coming out of Bettisons mouth he has told so many untruths regarding this matter and other things during his service with WYP I totally agree why should he be allowed to retire or get his pension he should be tried in a court of law and if found guilty should suffer the penalty.Perhaps there is one set of laws for one and another for the rest of us. collos25
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree