Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

Pc faces quiz on alleged BNP link

Pc Steve Bettley
Pc Steve Bettley has been suspended from duty

A Merseyside police officer suspended after his name appeared on a list of British National Party (BNP) members is to be questioned by his bosses.

Pc Steve Bettley was on holiday when the document containing details of 12,000 people was published online.

The Merseyside force specifically bans all officers from membership of the BNP, Combat 18 and the National Front.

The Merseyside Black Police Association (MBPA) has appealed for calm during the internal investigation.

A force spokesman said Mr Bettley had returned from holiday to co-operate with an internal inquiry, which will explore whether the officer does have any links with the party.

MBPA believes that due process must be allowed to take place and we appeal for calm
Vinny Tomlinson,
Merseyside Black Police Association

The spokesman added: "Merseyside Police can confirm that the police officer is subject to an ongoing internal investigation into his alleged association with the BNP and has been suspended from duty.

"We would like to reiterate we will keep an open mind until the facts around the alleged investigation have been established."

The officer once worked for a six-week period as a personal driver for the force's chief constable, Bernard Hogan Howe.

Mr Bettley was included in a list of thousands of BNP supporters which was leaked on an internet blog. His name was part of the main entry of a family member.

'Court action'

In a statement, MBPA chairman Vinny Tomlinson said: "MBPA believes that due process must be allowed to take place and we appeal for calm in that respect.

"MBPA also supports Merseyside Police to ensure the safety and security of those who it feels may be at risk as a result of being associated with the BNP."

He said the association was available to help the force during the investigation.

Officers have been banned from joining or promoting the BNP to prevent harming race relations, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo).

The list, which was removed from the original blog where it was posted but remains available on other websites, names a number of current and former servicemen, along with ex-policemen.

BNP leader Nick Griffin pledged to take court action against those behind the leak.

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