IPCC to investigate Hillsborough police offier Sir Norman Bettison over report on anti-racism campaigner

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said police systems may have been misused

The former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, Sir Norman Bettison, is to be investigated over claims he ordered his officers to compile a detailed report on the anti-racism campaigner Mohammed Amran, before he testified to the Macpherson Inquiry into the death of the teenager Stephen Lawrence.

The document – apparently stretching to six pages, covering every available piece of biographical evidence on the Bradford community worker – is at the centre of an inquiry announced by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) today.

The body will examine whether Sir Norman was “motivated or influenced by racial discrimination” in seeking information that could have been used to smear Mr Amran.

The IPCC has declared there was no “legitimate justification” for gathering the evidence and that Sir Norman may be guilty of “the misuse of police information systems and unlawful processing of the witness’s (sensitive) personal data.”

Mr Amran has been prevented by West Yorkshire Police from showing the dossier of evidence, which was referred to the IPCC by the West Yorkshire Police Crime and Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, to a third party. The force showed him the document on condition that he signed a confidentiality agreement; the IPCC is not yet ready to share it with him.

The document is understood to include details relating to Mr Amran’s birth in Pakistan, family connections and his influence in Bradford.

It is clear that Sir Norman’s officers concluded that he was influential and a strong communicator, who had become a very high-profile figure. They also concluded that Mr Amran’s family members had influence in Britain and Pakistan.

Sir Norman was delighted with the document and is understood to have signed it when it was despatched to him, indicating what an “excellent piece of work” it was.

Mr Amran had previously been the subject of an even more damning 167-page dossier compiled by the West Yorkshire force in 2001. This document was part of a lobbying campaign to persuade the then head of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), Gurbux Singh, to remove Mr Amran from his post as a CRE commissioner.

Details of the document emerged after the Home Secretary Theresa May ordered police forces around the country to examine their files after a claim by an undercover officer that attempts were made to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence following the murder of the 18-year-old in 1993.

The police watchdog said that it would not investigate because of a lack of evidence to back up the claims of the former undercover officer Peter Francis. He has declined to speak to an inquiry set up to look into the allegations of wrongdoing by covert police. He has said that he would give evidence only at a public inquiry.

Deborah Glass, the deputy chairwoman of the IPCC, said: “While the allegations are serious, and indicate potential grave misconduct, there is as yet no information or evidence to support them and the fact that the maker of the allegations is unwilling to talk to anyone in a position to investigate them means their credibility cannot properly be assessed at this stage.”

Indications that further intelligence work was being carried out by officers in Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire would also not be investigated by the watchdog, it said yesterday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence