Former police chief stripped of honour over Hillsborough

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A UNIVERSITY has stripped a former South Yorkshire Police officer of an honorary fellowship over the Hillsborough disaster.

Sir Norman Bettison was given the honour by Liverpool John Moores University in 2004, but following the publication of an independent panel’s report into the files held by organisations for the last 23 years university chiefs have withdrawn the honour.

Mr Bettison was a chief inspector with South Yorkshire Police when 96 fans were crushed to death on the terraces at Hillsborough football stadium when Liverpool and Nottingham Forest met for an FA Cup semi-final in April 1989.

He was a spectator at the game on the day of the disaster and later took part in an internal inquiry for South Yorkshire Police into the events of the day.

He later became Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police but resigned in the wake of the independent panel’s report, which revealed that there had been a cover-up at South Yorkshire Police to shift blame for the disaster away from police officers and onto the fans.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission was asked to look into the officer’s conduct following the disaster and allegations that he interfered in the referral process to the police watchdog.

Sir Norman stepped down from West Yorkshire Police claiming the inquiry into his role was ‘a distraction’ to the force.

The IPCC concluded that had Sir Norman still been a serving officer he would have had a ‘case to answer for gross misconduct’ for his actions surrounding the referral.

A spokesman for Liverpool John Moores University said: “In light of the conclusions published by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Liverpool John Moores University has withdrawn the honorary fellowship awarded to Sir Norman Bettison in 2004.

“As previously stated the university would like to commend the families and friends of those who died in the Hillsborough tragedy for the dignity and fortitude they have shown during their lengthy campaign for justice.”