Watchdog to investigate Bettison

A complaint against the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police which emerged following the Hillsborough disclosures has been referred to the police watchdog.

At a meeting of West Yorkshire Police Authority's Special Committee, its members agreed to record a complaint against the Chief Constable, Sir Norman Bettison, and immediately referred it to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for investigation.

In a statement Sir Norman said he was pleased to have the matter investigated.

The fresh inquiry into Sir Norman emerged on the same day that a top lawyer claimed documents outlining the police's role in covering up the Hillsborough disaster were handed to the Crown Prosecution Service 14 years ago and when the Liverpool anthem You'll Never Walk Alone went to number one in the iTunes chart following a campaign from Liverpool fans.

Speaking about the decision to refer Sir Norman to the IPCC, Chairman of WYPA's Special Committee, Richard Baldwin, said: "A number of factors led to the committee taking the decision to refer the complaint to the IPCC, including the gravity of the subject matter, the wholly exceptional circumstances and a pressing need to maintain public confidence in both policing governance and the police complaints system."

In a statement, Sir Norman said: "I welcome this step. I spoke with the chief executive of the police authority this morning and told him I would be pleased to see the authority take this action. It is time this moved into a more formal and legal inquiry, where it can be considered, analysed and fully assessed."

On Friday Sir Norman was forced to apologise for any upset caused by his statement that Liverpool fans' behaviour made policing at the Hillsborough tragedy "harder than it needed to be". He said his role was never to "besmirch" the fans and said the Reds' supporters were in no way to blame for the disaster.

Sir Norman was an off-duty South Yorkshire Police inspector when he attended the game and was involved in an internal inquiry held by the force in its aftermath. On Thursday he denied any wrongdoing but sparked fury with his comments, which led to calls for him to resign.

Writing in The Independent newspaper, Alun Jones QC, who led a private prosecution for manslaughter on behalf of the families, said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) needed to explain "why his office did absolutely nothing", even after being given detailed evidence that outlined the depth of the conspiracy in 1998.

The damning Hillsborough Independent Panel report revealed a cover-up took place to shift the blame on to the victims and that 41 of the 96 lives lost at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989, could have been saved.