A police watchdog has found that a former chief constable could have been sacked for his actions that followed the Hillsborough Independent Panel report in September 2012.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation has concluded that Sir Norman Bettison tried to 'manipulate and manage' the public's perception of him following a report that was heavily critical of how the police acted during the 1989 tragedy, at which 96 Liverpoolfans lost their lives.
The IPCC concluded that Bettison would have had a case to answer for 'discreditable conduct and abuse of authority' had he not since resigned.
Deborah Glass, deputy chair of the IPCC, said: "It was the IPCC's view at the start of the investigation, as it was the view of his police authority, that Sir Norman's actions, if proven, fell so far short of what is expected of a chief constable that dismissal would be justified.
"The evidence uncovered during the investigation supports that view."
In a controversial move reminiscent of the actions of other senior police officers who had previously been facing investigations regarding Hillsborough, Bettison resigned from his position as chief constable of West Yorkshire Police in October 2012.
Glass acknowledged that his resignation meant the IPCC were powerless to take any form of action against Bettison.
She added: "While we cannot bring this case to misconduct proceedings, we can publish the evidence and our conclusions, so that the public can judge for themselves.
"The Hillsborough disaster and its aftermath have become synonymous in the public consciousness with allegations of police attempts to cover up the truth, manipulate messages and deflect blame.
"Sir Norman is facing investigation in relation to allegations that he played a key part in this. We do not pre-judge the findings of that investigation.
"However, given the effect that those allegations have had on the public perception of him and policing generally, his attempts to manipulate and manage the perception of the referral of complaints about him, for his own self-interest, is particularly concerning.
"It is also conduct that falls far short of what should be expected of any chief constable."
In September 2012, the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report thoroughly exonerated Liverpool supporters for the tragedy which occurred on April 15, 1989.
Instead the long-awaited document revealed the extent of police misconduct during and after the disaster in Sheffield.
Bettison, formerly chief constable of Merseyside from 1998 to 2005, was serving with the South Yorkshire police at the time of the tragedy and played a significant role in compiling the force's subsequent report.
The 57-year-old is currently under IPCC investigation for his conduct at that time, but has consistently and strenuously denied any wrongdoing or involvement in a cover-up.
Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: "The man is an absolute disgrace. He should lose his knighthood and his doctorate from John Moores University."
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, added via Twitter: "People of Liverpool demand his knighthood be removed."