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
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links