The chief constable mired in allegations he was involved in a smear campaign against the victims of the Hillsborough disaster announced today that he is set to retire.
West Yorkshire Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison, who is the subject of an Independent Police Compliants Commission inquiry into his role in the 1989 tragedy, announced today that he will step down in March.
The Hillsborough Independent Panel in its report into the disaster found that South Yorkshire Police doctored statements in a bid to shift the blame onto those who died and remove any criticisms of its handling of the policing operation that day.
Mr Bettison, who was a chief inspector in the South Yorkshire force at the time, has been accused of orchestrating the "black propaganda" operation.
He has always denied any wrongdoing but sparked outrage last month when he claimed the behaviour of Liverpool fans that day had made the job of police "harder than it needed to be."
Ninety-six Liverpool fans died in the crush at the Sheffield stadium in one of the darkest days in Britain's peacetime history.
The families of those who died welcomed Mr Bettison's retirement but said he should be stripped of his pension
Hillsborough Families Support Group chairwoman Margaret Aspinall last night said she was "absolutely delighted 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."
Ms Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the tragedy, asked: "Why didn't he stay, then, until the IPCC came out with their investigation?"
Trevor Hicks, who lost his two daughters, 19-year-old Sarah and 15-year-old Victoria, said: "I'm glad he's realised his position is untenable. However, I'm determined that he does not escape his just deserts and I will make sure he's stripped of his knighthood.
"He should leave with nothing, like he tried to leave the families."
West Yorkshire Police Authority chairman Mark Burns-Williamson said it was "the right decision."
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