Police watchdog chief wants to see Norman Bettison's Hillsborough book

The police watchdog investigating the Hillsborough disaster has requested a copy of a book about the disaster written by former Merseyside chief constable Sir Norman Bettison.

Former Merseyside Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison arrives to give evidence at the Hillsborough inquest in Warrington

Sir Norman, who was a South Yorkshire Police officer at the time of the tragedy in which 96 Liverpool FC fans were killed, is set to publish Hillsborough Untold, about his role in the disaster on April 15 1989 and its aftermath.

In an update on the investigation, deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) Rachel Cerfontyne said: “Most of you will be aware that former SYP officer Sir Norman Bettison is writing a book about his involvement in policing the aftermath of Hillsborough.

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“As these events fall within the remit of the IPCC investigation, I have written to the publisher to request a copy of the book before it is published.

Former Merseyside Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison arrives to give evidence at the Hillsborough inquest in Warrington

“Its contents will be assessed in consultation with the CPS and together we will consider what impact, if any, it has on the criminal investigation and what action can be taken.”

Ms Cerfontyne also announced that she would commission an external review of her decision not to investigate a complaint from Hillsborough families about suspended South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton.

She said: “This step is being taken following an assessment (not an investigation) of the complaint which alleged David Crompton directed his legal team to blame Liverpool supporters at the inquests.

“As part of my decision, I concluded that any investigation would be ‘significantly hampered’ as it would be unable to access any communications between Mr Crompton and his legal team due to legal professional privilege, and that the available evidence did not indicate that a criminal or misconduct offence had occurred.”

Former Merseyside Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison arrives to give evidence at the Hillsborough inquest in Warrington

She said she had instigated a process which would offer the complainants a right of review.

She added: “It is essential that any reviewer is demonstrably independent of all parties, including the IPCC. I have always stated that I would be willing to revisit this decision should any new evidence come to light.”

Mr Crompton was criticised by Hillsborough campaigners for the stance taken by lawyers representing the police during the two-year-long hearings.

The inquests, which found that the 96 victims of the disaster had been unlawfully killed, were the longest jury cases in British legal history.

In the wake of the verdicts, then-shadow home secretary Andy Burnham accused the South Yorkshire force of “protecting itself above protecting people” during the hearings, and said the families had been “through hell again” during the protracted case.

The IPCC and Operation Resolve, which is also investigating the disaster, are due to pass files to the Crown Prosecution Service at the turn of the year.