‘Let watchdog investigate Bettison claim’

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Home Office minister Damian Green said a police watchdog should decide how it deals with allegations that former West Yorkshire Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison was involved in the attempted sale of stolen platinum 25 years ago.

Bassetlaw MP John Mann raised the issue, first revealed by the Yorkshire Post last week, in the Commons as MPs fast-tracked new law giving the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) greater powers to investigate police officers over the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Mr Mann had pressed the minister on how the IPCC should deal with the “mystery” surrounding claims South Yorkshire Police began an investigation into Sir Norman “for an alleged major theft in August 1987.”

The matter has been referred to the IPCC by Mr Mann, with the watchdog currently taking legal advice on how its powers apply to historic allegations prior to its formation.

It is claimed an investigation into Sir Norman and another man was begun by South Yorkshire Police in 1987 over an alleged attempt to sell stolen platinum wire to Sheffield firm Johnson Matthey.

A well-placed source told the Yorkshire Post officers gathered evidence against both men, but said no action was taken after it was referred up the chain in the force.

Sir Norman, who was a South Yorkshire inspector at the time, declined to comment on the allegations.