Exclusive: Charges possible for West Yorkshire chief constable Mark Gilmore over ‘bribery’

Chief Constable Mark Gilmore

Chief Constable Mark Gilmore

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Prosecutors in Northern Ireland are considering whether to bring charges against West Yorkshire’s top police officer in a probe over alleged bribery and misconduct.

The province’s Public Prosecution Service has been given a file by detectives investigating claims chief constable Mark Gilmore was involved in the alleged corrupt award of police vehicle contracts.

The news comes as it is revealed that Mr Gilmore has been paid nearly £90,000 by West Yorkshire Police since his suspension earlier this year.

Mr Gilmore, 50, who grew up in Belfast and spent most of his career there, is one of several officers facing claims including bribery, misconduct in public office and procuring misconduct in public office.

Seven men have been arrested as part of the inquiry. While Mr Gilmore is not one of them, he did voluntarily attend a police station in Belfast in August for interview.

Detective Superintendent Jonathan Roberts, of the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s serious crime branch, said prosecutors were now considering the evidence. He said: “Police inquiries are continuing. One file has been submitted to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for consideration. Another file remains under preparation and will be forwarded as expeditiously as possible to the PPS.”

The PPS yesterday declined to comment on how long they expected their deliberations to take.

Mr Gilmore was suspended on full pay by West Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson in June – a little over a year after his appointment – after details of the investigation came to light.

At the time Mr Burns-Williamson said the suspension was “a necessity in the public interest until the full facts have been established”.

A request made under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed that Mr Gilmore has been paid £88,454 in the six months since, including £2,500 in housing allowance.

However, he has not had use of his company car and had to hand over IT equipment, including mobile phones, following his suspension.

The figures also show that temporary chief constable Dee Collins has received more than £6,000 in addition to her basic pay to act up while Mr Gilmore has been suspended.

Mr Gilmore, who joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1983 and was assistant chief constable of West Yorkshire Police and deputy chief of Northumbria Police before becoming a chief constable, has always maintained his innocence.

In a statement released through the Chief Police Officers Staff Association in June, he said: “I have conducted myself with the honesty and integrity expected of someone in my position and have 31 years unblemished professional record.

“I have fully co-operated with the investigation and will continue to do so.”

West Yorkshire Police declined to comment on the latest developments in the case.

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