Norman Bettison did not mention the role of Hillsborough when he applied for the chief post at Merseyside because he did not consider it “significant”.


Norman Bettison was interviewed during his second day of evidence gathering for the 96 deaths investigation on his application for leadership of the Merseyside force.

The former Chief Constable of Merseyside Police said he had not mentioned his work in Hillsborough in his application because it had not occurred to him that it was “significant”.

The former Chief Constable said during research that it was “irrelevant” to the role of Chief Constable.

Mr. Bettison said, “Only because there was no opportunity to do so.”

Jonathan Hough QC, lawyer for the investigations, said: “In the course of this form I believe you have not mentioned your work within South Yorkshire Police in relation to Hillsborough.

His application form for the post to which he was appointed in 1998 was submitted to the court.

Mr Hough said: “Did it occur to you at the time, as an intelligent man, that any work you did in connection with Hillsborough could be considered significant in Merseyside?

He also told the court that when questioned he was not asked about his role in South Yorkshire Police or Hillsborough involvement.

When asked why he had failed to mention this, he said: “For two reasons, although I applied to Merseyside: Firstly, it was irrelevant in the sense of an application, i.e. a pure job application, and secondly there was no opportunity to respond to it either on the form or at the interview.

The court learned that Mr. Bettison had worked on matters relating to the public inquiry led by Lord Justice Taylor from April to October 1989, when he was Chief Inspector.

Mr. Bettison replied, “No.”

He resumed work as Superintendent on matters related to the disaster in the summer of 1990, when he was assigned duties related to civil litigation.

“I didn’t do any of the tasks, I didn’t set any of the assignments.”

When asked about his later role, he said: “My role was exclusively that of a messenger.

Mr. Hough said, “Wouldn’t a superintendent be more of a high-ranking person to be just a link in the chain?

Mr Hough asked the former officer: “When you think about the roles you played, do you consider at least that part of your work in the Taylor investigation and the subsequent presentation of a case to South Yorkshire Police to be something like an advocacy role?

Mr. Bettison said, “Yes.”

He said, “Yes.” I thought I was going to present evidence to the lawyers that would enable them to present the Chief Constable’s case.

The court heard in November 1990 that Mr. Bettison attended a meeting with members of the House of Commons to show them a video presentation of the catastrophe in advance of a parliamentary debate on the results of the Taylor investigation.

Mr. Bettison said no…


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