MPs from West Yorkshire and Merseyside have criticised a publicly-funded legal scheme that Sir Norman Bettison will be able to call upon if he faces action following his role in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.
The West Yorkshire chief constable will be able to use a legal insurance policy paid for by contributions from police authorities to defend any disciplinary action he may face following investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Merseyside MP Maria Eagle and West Yorkshire MPs Simon Reevell and Alec Shelbrooke all said the public should not be funding the legal defence of a chief constable who is paid £225,000 a year.
Sir Norman is entitled to claim for legal expenses from a policy provided by the Chief Police Officers Staff Association (CPOSA). Police authorities, including West Yorkshire, pay contributions of £2,197 for each chief officer in their ranks with around £750,000 in total coming from the public purse to fund the scheme this year.
The policy provides legal expenses of up to £250,000 for a single case, with a total of £1m available to a single officer for more than one case.
Sir Norman, who denies any wrongdoing, did not comment.
Meanwhile Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC yesterday announced he was taking the “exceptional course” of indicating that he will apply to quash the original accidental death verdicts for the Hillsborough victims before finishing his review of the evidence to spare families the anxiety of further delay.
The move comes after a damning report into the disaster 23 years ago laid bare a cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy on to its victims.
Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died in the crush at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium in 1989.
Liverpool MP Steve Rotherham said the Attorney General’s decision “marks one of the biggest steps forward in the fight for justice for the families in 23 years”.
Mr Rotherham said the move raises the possibility of different verdicts “which the families have always believed should have reflected the unlawful killing of their loved ones”.