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West Yorkshire police chief is suspended in NI fraud inquiry

By Tom Wilkinson

A former senior PSNI officer who's now chief constable of West Yorkshire Police has been suspended pending an investigation by his former force in Northern Ireland.

Mark Gilmore, who grew up in Belfast and spent most of his police career in Northern Ireland, was suspended by the West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

The move was prompted by the PSNI investigation into the awarding of police vehicle contracts in Northern Ireland.

Seven men were arrested by detectives working on the case this week and questioned on suspicion of offences including bribery, misconduct in public office and procuring misconduct in public office.

Mr Gilmore was not one of those detained. Retired PSNI assistant chief constable Duncan McCausland was also arrested.

Mr McCausland strenuously denied wrongdoing and stressed his determination to prove his innocence after he was released pending a report being sent to prosecutors for assessment.

Two civilian suspects, aged 34 and 54, detained in England and brought to Northern Ireland for questioning have also been released pending reports to prosecutors.

A 48-year-old serving police officer and a 37-year-old civilian member of police staff have been suspended from work after being freed.

Another man arrested in Northern Ireland, a 62-year-old civilian, has also been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

A 71-year-old civilian arrested in Co Down on Thursday was also released last night.

In a statement, the Yorkshire crime commissioner said: "This morning I suspended the chief constable of West Yorkshire, Mark Gilmore.

"The reason for this suspension is as a result of information I have received from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) arising from an investigation announced by them earlier this week.

"I would like to stress that the suspension of the chief constable is a necessity in the public interest until the full facts have been established.

"I have also referred this matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

"I sincerely hope that the PSNI investigation is concluded quickly in a way that could allow me to lift the suspension and Mr Gilmore to return to his post and continue the vital work to ensure communities are safer and feel safer.

"I will be keeping the suspension under review as the PSNI investigation proceeds and in the meantime I have asked deputy chief constable, Dee Collins, to act up as chief constable for West Yorkshire.

"It would be inappropriate for me to make any further comments at this time." Mr Gilmore, born in 1964 and from the Shankill Road area of Belfast, attended the University of Ulster and Harvard in the United States.

He joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1983, which has since become the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

According to the West Yorkshire Police website, during his 29 years as an officer "he has gained wide policing experience in roles such as uniform beat and patrol, drug squad, criminal investigation, intelligence, HQ management posts, roads policing, tactical support groups, firearms and public order".

He was part of the RUC's Fundamental Review Team in 1995, led by the then deputy chief constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan.

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