IPCC Referral (3 July 2013)

Statement from PCC Mark Burns-Williamson following the referral made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission regarding the conduct of former Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison.  

 IPCC Referral: Sir Norman Bettison

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson today referred former Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). This referral follows a process of searching for evidence across the police service of similar behaviour to that which attempted to discredit the Lawrence family when they were the target of covert surveillance as they sought justice for their murdered son.

The referral is being made alongside a similar matter which has been raised by Greater Manchester Police and their Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd. Both crime commissioners believe the evidence points to potential misconduct by serving police officers at the time of the Macpherson Inquiry and which requires urgent investigation.

Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said:

"I have become aware of three documents following a thorough search requested by West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Mark Gilmore. These documents raise significant concerns over the role of Sir Norman Bettison at the time he was Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police in 1998 in commissioning a report to be prepared in the respect of a key witness appearing before the Macpherson Inquiry. This may suggest an attempt to intervene in the course of a public inquiry and influence the manner in which the testimony of a witness, who was due to present evidence before it, was received. I have today referred this to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

"This is a matter which needs to be thoroughly investigated, and if wrongdoing is demonstrated those responsible must face the consequences of their actions.

"Doreen Lawrence and her family need their treatment by the police service reviewed independently and this must be done as a matter of urgency. I am sure the Independent Police Complaints Commission will do the same for these separate issues of concern indicating possible corrupt practices in the later period around the Macpherson Inquiry. I am now seeking an urgent meeting with the Home Secretary along with my fellow Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd in Greater Manchester.

"Wider issues of any institutional racism in the police service may need to be tackled with a standalone inquiry but my referral to the IPCC today is to make sure we understand the truth regarding the conduct of Sir Norman Bettison. I welcome Mark Gilmore, the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, rightly and swiftly recognising the seriousness of this issue and dealing with it in an open and transparent way. "

 

IPCC Referral Statement from West Yorkshire Police

Following recent allegations that the Police had attempted to smear the family of the racist murder victim Stephen Lawrence, the Home Office asked Police Forces, visited by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (Macpherson Inquiry), to ascertain if they may have similar issues. 

West Yorkshire Police has discovered material that identifies that a man, due to give evidence to the Inquiry in October 1998, when it sat in Bradford, was the subject of a Police report in circumstances that have given rise to concerns about the motivation for the report and therefore its appropriateness.

Mr Mark Gilmore, the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, has today referred to the IPCC the discovery of this material which identifies issues that raise serious concerns and warrant an immediate and fully independent investigation.  Mr Gilmore said, "The allegations made against two other Police Forces and the material we have found in connection with the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry raise significant issues of not just public confidence and trust, but also public interest.  In the interests of openness and transparency I have today referred this matter to the IPCC so that an independent body can assess these matters so that the public can have full confidence in any outcome.  West Yorkshire Police will cooperate fully with the IPCC and assist in any way we can to get to the truth".

The Chief Constable Mr Gilmore has fully briefed the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mr Mark Burns-Williamson, on the material found.  The Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Burns-Williamson will also himself be making a referral to the IPCC

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