Police to investigate Keighley town council

A POLICE unit which probes financial crime has been asked to investigate a Yorkshire council following a damning audit report.

West Yorkshire’s Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins has asked investigators from the Force’s Economic Crime Unit to start an investigation into Keighley Town Council.

It follows a highly critical report earlier this month by independent auditors PKF Littlejohn LLP which concluded that the council had failed to properly safeguard public money and had not complied with financial regulations.

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Keighley Conservative MP Kris Hopkins asked police to investigate following the publication of the audit report.

In a letter to Mr Hopkins, the temporary chief constable said: “

“From the initial assessment of the audit, it is clear that the force will play an active role in investigating any potential offences which may have been committed.

“I have requested that investigators from the Economic Crime Unit within West Yorkshire Police, meet with representatives from PKF Littlejohn LLP, in order for the material held by the auditors to be fully assessed and reviewed.

“Once this review and assessment is completed, we will be in a stronger position to understand if any criminal offences have taken place within the Town Council.”

Kris Hopkins said: “I am pleased that the Temporary Chief Constable has confirmed that West Yorkshire Police will be taking an active interest in the financial affairs of Keighley Town Council. It is very important that this investigation is fair and allowed to run its course. I look forward to an update in due course.”

Elizabeth Mitchell, a resident whose campaigning helped expose wrongdoing at the council, backed the police becoming involved.

She said: “I welcome any scrutiny from police - that is what is needed.”

Nobody was available to comment from the council.

Earlier this week Keighley Mayor Councillor Graham Mitchell said suggestions in the audit report that the council had acted unlawfully were the opinions of accountants and not lawyers.