Chief rapped by watchdog over cover-up

File photo dated 30/09/2012 of Sir Norman Bettison. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday March 28, 2013. A former chief constable would have a case to answer for gross misconduct over his dealings with his police authority following the publication of a damning report on the Hillsborough disaster if he was still a serving officer, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has said. Sir Norman Bettison attempted to influence public perception as the West Yorkshire Police Authority was deciding whether to refer him to the IPCC following the Hillsborough Independent Panel report last year, the IPCC has concluded. See PA story SOCCER Hillsborough. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
File photo dated 30/09/2012 of Sir Norman Bettison. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday March 28, 2013. A former chief constable would have a case to answer for gross misconduct over his dealings with his police authority following the publication of a damning report on the Hillsborough disaster if he was still a serving officer, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has said. Sir Norman Bettison attempted to influence public perception as the West Yorkshire Police Authority was deciding whether to refer him to the IPCC following the Hillsborough Independent Panel report last year, the IPCC has concluded. See PA story SOCCER Hillsborough. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
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THE police watchdog has slammed a former South Yorkshire officer for his actions after the publication of a report into the Hillsborough disaster.

Sir Norman Bettison, who was a Chief Inspector with South Yorkshire Police when Liverpool fans were crushed to death at Hillsborough in April 1989, would have had a case to answer for gross misconduct if he was still a serving officer, the Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled.

It concluded Sir Norman, who retired as Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police last year, attempted to influence public perception of him by referring himself to the IPCC when West Yorkshire Police Authority was deciding whether to refer him to the watchdog after the publication of the report last year.

But Mr Bettinson’s lawyers said the way the IPCC conducted its inquiry was unfair

His solicitor John Harding said Sir Norman had been “denied the opportunity to put his case and challenge other evidence, which calls into question the fairness of such a process.”

Sir Norman who was a spectator at the match on the day, is facing a wider inquiry into allegations he was involved in a force-wide cover-up aimed at shifting blame for the tragedy from police to the fans.

The IPCC said: “The IPCC investigation concluded that he attempted to manipulate the public perception of the referral process for his own self-interest.”

It said its finding would justify Sir Norman’s dismissal if he was still a serving officer.