Sir Norman Bettison was facing potential action for gross misconduct which could have led to his suspension just hours after he decided to resign, it has been revealed.
The region’s most senior police officer retired on Wednesday morning with immediate effect and without a pay-off, shortly before a special committee of West Yorkshire Police Authority was set to decide what action to take over his alleged misconduct following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report last month.
Police authority bosses referred him on two separate counts of alleged misconduct to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), and pressured him to announce he would retire in March.
However it emerged yesterday the police authority has accepted a “severity assessment” from the IPCC which has ruled Sir Norman’s conduct could potentially amount to gross misconduct.
It is understood allegations the former West Yorkshire Police chief tried to improperly influence the police authority relates to a small clutch of senior figures,
Former police authority chair Mark Burns-Williamson, who is standing as a candidate to be West Yorkshire’s new crime commissioner, yesterday revealed he has been contacted by the IPCC over the investigation.
“They have been in touch, but I’m not going to make any further comment,” he said.
Mr Burns-Williamson announced on Tuesday that Sir Norman should step down, following Monday night’s Commons debate, when the Yorkshire-born Merseyside MP Maria Eagle quoted a “contemporaneous account” from a civil servant that Sir Norman had “boasted” of “a plot to fit up Liverpool fans”.
Sir Norman used his parting statement to insist he has “never blamed the fans for causing the tragedy”, and said he “refuted” the allegations made in Parliament.
“Really the campaign should be about policing in West Yorkshire and the future direction for the force,” Mr Burns-Williamson said yesterday.
“Sir Norman Bettison was becoming the election issue and that cannot be right.”