Hillsborough: Police chief quits

Banbury Cake: Sir Norman Bettison was a chief inspector with South Yorkshire Police at the time of the Hillsborough disaster Sir Norman Bettison was a chief inspector with South Yorkshire Police at the time of the Hillsborough disaster

Under-fire West Yorkshire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison has resigned.

He tendered his resignation ahead of a meeting scheduled to consider his role in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, which he investigated for South Yorkshire Police.

Sir Norman has been under growing pressure since the Hillsborough Independent Panel report was published and he is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

In a statement issued through the West Yorkshire police authority, Sir Norman said he had never blamed the fans for the tragedy.

Sir Norman said: "First, and foremost, the Hillsborough tragedy 23 years ago left 96 families bereaved and countless others injured and affected by it.

"I have always felt the deepest compassion and sympathy for the families, and I recognise their longing to understand exactly what happened on that April afternoon. I have never blamed the fans for causing the tragedy."

Sir Norman dismissed reports of a conversation he had in a pub in which he allegedly said he was "concocting" a story for South Yorkshire Police.

He said; "The suggestion that I would say to a passing acquaintance that I was deployed as part of a team tasked to 'concoct a false story of what happened', is both incredible and wrong. That isn't what I was tasked to do, and I did not say that."

Sir Norman said the police authority and some of the candidates in the forthcoming PCC elections made it clear that they wanted him to go.

"I do so, not because of any allegations about the past, but because I share the view that this has become a distraction to policing in West Yorkshire now and in the future."

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