Belfast Telegraph

Lawyer says clients 'disappointed' retired PSNI officers did not co-operate in Police Ombudsman investigation

By Mark Edwards

A lawyer representing police officers questioned as part of a bribery investigation about the awarding of PSNI vehicle contracts has said his clients are “disappointed” a number of former police officers did not co-operate with an Ombudsman investigation into the matter.

The seven complainants, including retired PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland and former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Mark Gilmore, were the subject of an investigation after allegations of bribery and misconduct in public office were made against them about the awarding of vehicle contracts.

After each of the men were cleared of any wrongdoing, the Police Ombudsman launched a large scale investigation into the actions of PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton, his deputy Drew Harris and a number of other senior officers during the bribery inquiry.

Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, on Wednesday said no evidence was found that the chief constable, or any members of his senior management team, or any other named officers, were involved in any criminality or misconduct.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton and a number of other officers have also been cleared of all allegations against them.

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Retired PSNI assistant chief constable Duncan McCausland

However, solicitor Ernie Waterworth, of MTB Law, said his clients were disappointed that a number of senior officers, who have now retired, had not cooperated with Dr Maguire’s investigation.

“My client’s note the fact that the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI) has found that a number of police officers would have faced disciplinary proceedings had they still been serving as members of the PSNI," he said.

"It is also disappointing and notable that a number of senior officers who have since resigned have failed to co-operate with the investigation.

“My client’s believe the complaint to have been properly founded and properly made following the receipt of information volunteered to us after the PSNI investigation had concluded and the decision of the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland (and the Independent Police Complaints Commission for Mark Gilmore) that they had no case to answer.

“The purpose in doing so was to bring to the attention of the PONI, their serious concerns that flowed from the receipt of such information.

“The PONI report is a substantial document and we will now review the full content, however as these matters are subject of civil proceedings and two further ongoing investigations it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time. Further, this matter is far from a conclusion.”

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Former West Yorkshire Police chief constable Mark Gilmore (Nick Ansell/PA)

Duncan McCausland is seeking damages for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment when he was questioned about bribery allegations. He was held for three days.

Another former PSNI officer, Mark Gilmore, who went on to become chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, is also taking legal action.

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