Farewell then, Sir Norman (aged 56 and three-quarters) ‘So as George Dixon used to do – he used to sign off by giving a cheery smile and a salute – I’ll do that now and look forward to your questions’. Top cop’s right arm sweeps out so that the fingertips of his straightened hand can come back in and graze his eyebrow. In the YouTube clip, the camera closes on him holding the familiar gesture. Introducing an online Q&A session with the Bradford contingent of the Police and Communities Acting Together scheme (ePACT), which took place in 2011, West Yorkshire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison adopted the mannerisms of PC George Dixon, UK television’s first fictional policeman. Sir Norman took us back to his own boyhood, in the days of chip butties and cup cakes for Saturday tea, when, pre-Dr Who,Dixon of Dock Green was the best thing on and there were only two channels to choose from, anyway. Despite receding hair and a mouth thinned out by 40 years of tight-lipped policing, the chief constable wants us to know he’s the same Yorkshire lad who looked up to George Dixon from his parents’ through-lounge in Rotherham, and policing is not much changed neither. That flat accent (‘water’ rhymes with ‘matter’), as if Dixon himself had re-appeared in a Hovis advert. Boots on the streets, Dixon-Hovis insists, that’s what counts, same as always. Bettison, for it is he, means the size 9s of a cheery constable. But Yorkshire folk remember the jackboots of an occupying army during the miners’ strike of 1984-5, aka the English Civil War. Liverpool FC supporters won’t forget the same approach being applied to them at Hillsborough in April 1989, resulting in the death of 96 fans. They hardly need reminding that it was Bettison who led the police propaganda campaign in the wake of this disaster. But there will be no more salutes from Sir Norman. Earlier in the week he said ‘vale’ instead, and resigned his post with pension still intact. A local boy who made his way through the ranks – this chief petty officer has outlived his usefulness, along with his style of command.