Protesters delighted as South Yorkshire chief retires

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RELatives of football supporters killed in the Hillsborough disaster have welcomed the announcement that a former South Yorkshire Police officer involved in an internal inquiry afterwards is to retire.

Sir Norman Bettison has announced his plan to retire from his post as Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police in March, amid continuing investigations into the role he played following the disaster.

He was employed by South Yorkshire Police when 96 fans died at Hillsborough in 1989, after too many supporters were allowed onto the terraces at Leppings Lane and were crushed.

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said: “Obviously I’m very, very pleased.

“I’m absolutely delighted that he’s going.

“But then he’ll be going on his full pension, and I’d like to know the full reasons why he’s choosing to retire as soon as this.”

Mrs Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the disaster, said: “Why didn’t he stay until the IPCC came out with their investigation?

“But he’s decided to leave. I’m not arguing against it, because I’m thrilled that he is going, but if he’s got nothing to hide, why is he retiring?”

Sir Norman, who denies any wrongdoing, is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Sir Norman was involved in an internal inquiry held by the force in the aftermath of the disaster, which led to a police ‘cover-up’ aimed at deflecting blame away from the force.