FORMER Merseyside police chief constable Sir Norman Bettison finally bowed to pressure and resigned from his post in West Yorkshire in the wake of more damaging Hillsborough allegations.
Hillsborough families said they were delighted he would no longer be involved in policing but said it was long overdue.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it was “surprised” by Mr Bettison’s resignation but that its investigations into his conduct would continue.
His announcement to resign as West Yorkshire chief constable with immediate effect brings forward his March retirement date which he had been forced to announce after revelations in the Hillsborough Independent Panel report.
As revealed earlier this month, upon leaving West Yorkshire Police Merseyside taxpayers become liable to pay his £83,000 pension which was accrued while he was chief constable here between 2004 and 2008.
Merseyside Police Authority chairman Bill Weightman said discussions were now being held with the Home Office about when payments had to start.
The police authority is powerless to stop the payments unless Mr Bettison is convicted of a crime such as perverting the course of justice.
Yesterday West Yorkshire Police’s special committee was expected to suspend Mr Bettison – who earned £225,000 in his job – but he decided to resign.
He continues to deny any wrongdoing but said the continuing scandal had become a distraction from doing his job.
He said he was not resigning because of “any allegations about the past, but because I share the view that this has become a distraction to policing in West Yorkshire now and in the future”.
West Yorkshire Police Authority said Mr Bettison will not receive any severance pay.
Mr Bettison’s career was left hanging by a thread after his former boss Cllr Mark Burns-Williamson called for his resignation in light of fresh allegations made by Liverpool MP Maria Eagle.
Ms Eagle used Monday’s parliamentary debate to claim that Mr Bettison had revealed just weeks after the 1989 disaster that he had been asked to help “concoct” a story that drunken fans were to blame for the tragedy.
She used parliamentary privilege to make the allegations which were based on new evidence from witness John Barry who discussed the disaster with Mr Bettison when the pair were on an MBA course together.