SIR NORMAN Bettison should not be allowed to retire, he should be sacked, Hillsborough families demanded today.
Mr Bettison, chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, last night announced his decision to retire in March in the wake of revelations by the Hillsborough Independent Panel about his role in the aftermath of the disaster.
He is the most senior police officer involved with South Yorkshire Police’s discredited Hillsborough operation that is still in service.
Margaret Aspinall, chair of Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: “I’m delighted. But he is a disgrace. He has had a couple of weeks of going through a little stress, while we have been through hell for 23 years.”
She said Mr Bettison's announcement reminded her how Ch Supt David Duckenfield and his underling Supt Bernard Murray escaped disciplinary charges through Duckenfield's retirement.
The pair were responsible for opening the gate that led to the crush that claimed 96 lives at Hillsborough.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating Mr Bettison's role in the cover-up after the 1989 disaster.
In a statement he said: “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 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.”
Trevor Hicks, president of HFSG, said: “I am pleased that he has finally realised his position is untenable.
“This is typical of senior officers avoiding responsibility, dipping out of disciplinaries, and leaving with a big fat pension, a knighthood, and an honorary fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.
“Over the next six months we will be undertaking every endeavour to press for Bettison to be sacked.
“If he thinks he can evade justice by jumping ship, he is mistaken. “He is the first of the new scalps, he will be the first of many.”