Police chief Bettison to retire after Hillsbrough comments

West Yorkshire Police chief constable Sir Norman Bettison has announced his retirement as his role in the Hillsborough tragedy is reviewed.

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2012 Hillsborough vigil

The Independent Police Complaints Commission are investigating his role in the 1989 tragedy, but while that inquiry continues, Bettison has confirmed his intention to step down in March next year.

Senior police offers are dismayed by his decision, the Guardian report, believing that political support was withdrawn from him, leaving Bettison with few other options than to walk away.

Bettison attracted criticism for standing behind his comments that Liverpool fans had made policing "harder than it needed to be", even after the Hillsborough Indepedent Panel cleared supporters of any such role, and pointed at a concerted police cover-up of what actually unfolded.

On announcing plans to retire, Bettison said: "Recent weeks have caused me to reflect on what is best for the future of policing in West Yorkshire and I have decided to set a firm date for my retirement of 31 March 2013."

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Families Support Group and mother of James, who died at the age of 18 in the tragedy, questioned the timing of his exit: "Obviously I'm very, very pleased. I'm absolutely delighted that he's going. But then he'll be going on his full pension, and I'd like to know the full reasons why he's choosing to retire as soon as this. Why didn't he stay until the IPCC came out with their investigation?"

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