West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison announces retirement in wake of Hillsborough report

Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison
Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison

The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Sir Norman Bettison has announced he will retire.

Sir Norman, who was last month referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission after allegations baout his conduct after the Hillsborough disaster, will step down in March.

He said: “I have had the privilege to serve the people of West Yorkshire as their Chief Constable since 2007.

“My term of appointment with West Yorkshire Police was due to end in January of this year, but was extended with the approval of the police authority and Home Secretary.

“However recent weeks have caused me to reflect on what is best for the future of policing in West Yorkshire and I have now decided to set a firm date for my retirement of March 31, 2013.

“I have offered this proposal to my police authority.”

He said his decision would also allow the incoming Police and Crime Commissioner, who takes up office on November 22, to search for a new Chief Constable.

He added: “Furthermore, I hope it will enable the Independent Police Complaints Commission to fully investigate allegations that have been raised about my integrity. They need to be fairly and fully investigated and I welcome this independent and formal scrutiny.

“The record of my leadership of West Yorkshire Police will speak for itself. Crime is down and public confidence is up.

“I remain very proud to serve the people of West Yorkshire and work alongside the committed and professional police officers and staff of West Yorkshire Police.

“It remains my intention to maintain and improve the performance of the force, whilst ensuring a smooth transition to a new Chief Constable.”

Chairman of West Yorkshire Police Authority, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “In all the circumstances and after due consideration we think this is the right decision for retirement in March 2013.

“The bottom line has to be what is best for policing in West Yorkshire. Sir Norman has clearly taken that into consideration and already declared his intent to work with the IPCC investigation following the recent referral by the police authority.

“We have had some discussion about the Chief Constable’s possible retirement date and succession planning, but hadn’t reached any firm agreement.

“Sir Norman Bettison has been a very valued and effective Chief Constable, West Yorkshire is much the better for his leadership over the past 6 years or so...particularly the development of neighbourhood policing teams throughout the county and the confidence it has generated from the public.

“Now that he has made a statement setting out a date for stable transition, the police authority will need to consider the practicalities of the process to find a successor for what is one of the biggest jobs in policing.”