Disgraced Hillsborough Police chief Bettison to retire

The West Yorkshire chief constable made the decision after September's report revealed he was largely responsible for deflecting the blame onto Liverpool fans for the disaster

West Yorkshire Police's chief constable Sir Norman Bettison has announced his plans to retire early next year in the wake of the recently released Hillsborough report.

Bettison's decision comes just over three weeks after the new findings first emerged which saw him subsequently referred to Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) regarding his conduct following the 1989 disaster.

At the time of the incident Bettison was acting as a South Yorkshire Police inspector and had attended the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest as a spectator, only to then join the inquiry into the disaster.

A statement, posted on the West Yorkshire police website, read: "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."

His exit will help the IPCC to launch an investigation into his role in how the police dealt with the Liverpool fans but Bettison insist he would support any such inquiry as more answers are sought.

He added: "I hope [my departure] 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."

Complaints were filed against Bettison after the government papers on the disaster were made public last month, with several claiming that he had given misleading information during the inquest.

His retirement marks the end of a 40-year association with the Yorkshire Police.