Yorkshire police chief quits service amid misconduct investigation

Chief Constable Mark Gilmore, who is retiring from the service.

Chief Constable Mark Gilmore, who is retiring from the service.

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West Yorkshire Police’s chief constable Mark Gilmore is to retire from the service, more than two years after being suspended from his job.

Mark Gilmore was suspended on full pay in June 2014 amid an investigation into the allegedly corrupt award of police vehicle contracts in his native Northern Ireland.

Despite being told he had no criminal case to answer last April and having his suspension lifted, he has yet to return to his post and has since been the subject of a misconduct investigation by Lancashire Police.

In a statement released after 6pm today, the office of West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said it had “received notification from Chief Constable Mark Gilmore of his intention to retire from the service”.

It added: “A recruitment process will begin in due course but in the meantime Dee Collins will continue in post as Temporary Chief Constable of West Yorkshire.”

The statement did not give any further information about the reason for Mr Gilmore’s decision or the status of the investigation by Lancashire Police. No-one was available in the PCC’s office to provide further details this evening.

After his suspension was lifted last year following the decision by prosecutors in Northern Ireland, Mr Gilmore has been working on a “transition project” for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the successor body to the Association of Chief Police Officers.

The staff association representing senior officers said in May that he “remains committed to serving the communities of West Yorkshire” and wants the matter to be “resolved as soon as possible”.

At that point, Mr Mark Burns-Williamson said the Lancashire investigation was “due to report back in the near future”.

A spokeswoman said: “The IPCC decided that this matter should be subject to a local investigation and Lancashire Constabulary agreed to conduct this investigation on behalf of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

“They have kept the PCC fully briefed on the progress and direction of their independent investigation and they are due to report back in the near future. “Mark Gilmore has been temporarily redeployed to work with the National Police Chiefs’ Council while the investigation takes place. It would be inappropriate to comment any further at this stage.”

Chief Constable Mark Polin, chairman of the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association, said in May: “Mark Gilmore remains committed to working alongside the police and crime commissioner to serve the communities of West Yorkshire. “We are disappointed at the length of time the investigation has taken, which follows satisfactory resolution of the Northern Ireland and IPCC investigations, and Mr Gilmore looks forward to this matter being resolved as soon as possible.”

The decision not to prosecute Mr Gilmore was announced last April by prosecutors, who said there was “insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction.”

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

He was suspended on full pay in June 2014 – a little over a year after his appointment – when details of the investigation came to light. Mr Burns-Williamson said the suspension was “a necessity in the public interest until the full facts have been established”.

Dee Collins took over as Temporary Chief Constable. At the time of his suspension, Mr Gilmore, who attended police interview in Belfast voluntarily, insisted he had always acted with honesty and integrity.