Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Friday, November 6, 1998 Published at 22:21 GMT


Straw backs Hillsborough officer

Straw: "He is a very good officer."

The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, has given his backing to Merseyside's new Chief Constable, Norman Bettison, despite protests over his links with the Hillsborough disaster.

Jack Straw: Mr Bettison was appointed fair and square
Anger has erupted on Merseyside following the disclosure that Mr Bettison was part of a Yorkshire police team that victims' relatives say attempted to deflect criticism over the 1989 tragedy away from the police.

Mr Bettison has also been criticised for making no mention in his application of his association with the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 people died.

'Full confidence'

However, Mr Straw said the officer had his "full confidence".

Mr Straw, speaking before the Association of Police Authorities' annual conference in Blackpool, said: "His nomination along with the other officers on the short list was approved by me on the recommendation and advice of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

[ image: Bettison: Approved for new job]
Bettison: Approved for new job
"He was appointed by the police authority under the proper procedures and the police authority, as I have seen the papers, were given a biographical summary about his membership of this group that had something to do with Hillsborough."

Mr Bettison admits that his Hillsborough link was not made clear on his application form for the job but has said it was contained in a report from HMIC made available to all the police authority members.


However, on Thursday two of them, Councillors Dave Martin and Frank Prendergast, resigned claiming they never saw any mention of his association with Hillsborough.

[ image: Protesters call for Mr Bettison's resignation]
Protesters call for Mr Bettison's resignation
Asked about their resignation, Mr Straw said: "I am not responsible for whether or not people read the papers.

"The information was made available and its a matter for the police authority to follow it up."

The home secretary said he could not see "any reason whatever" for Mr Bettison to have a credibility problem in his new post.

"He is a very good officer," he said.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

05 Nov 98 | UK
Two quit over Hillsborough policeman

02 Nov 98 | UK
Merseyside police chief under review

20 Aug 98 | UK
Hillsborough private prosecution opens

Internet Links

Hillsborough Family Support Group

The Home Office

Merseyside Police

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online