PSNI staff member arrested in vehicle contracts inquiry

54-year-old held ‘on suspicion of misconduct in public office’ in ongoing investigation

A second PSNI staff member has been arrested in connection with an investigation into the awarding of a number of police vehicle contracts.

A second PSNI staff member has been arrested in connection with an investigation into the awarding of a number of police vehicle contracts.

Tue, Aug 5, 2014, 13:05

A second PSNI staff member has been arrested in connection with an investigation into the awarding of a number of police vehicle contracts.

The inquiry already has led to the arrest of former PSNI assistant chief constable Duncan McCausland and the suspension of West Yorkshire chief constable Mark Gilmore, a former RUC and PSNI officer and a native of the Shankill in west Belfast.

The 54-year-old member of police staff was arrested in Co Antrim today by detectives from the PSNI’s serious crime branch who are conducting what are reported to be complex allegations of fraud over the awarding of vehicle contracts.

The staff member was arrested “on suspicion of misconduct in public office” and was taken to a police station in Belfast for questioning, said the PSNI.

He is the eighth man to be arrested in connection with the investigation. Seven men were previously arrested as part of the investigation including a 48-year -old police officer and a 37-year-old member of police staff, both of whom were suspended from duty.

Files on all seven suspects including Mr McCausland are being prepared for submission to the North’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

Detectives are also preparing a file on a 49-year-old man following inquiries into bribery and misconduct in public office sparked by this investigation. He voluntarily attended a police station in Belfast last week for interview.

The most high-profile arrest was that of Mr McCausland who was questioned about the allegations in June, and then released pending a file being sent to the PPS.

Mr McCausland (54) said at the time that he “strenuously” denied any misconduct. “I am going to go out of my way to ensure I can prove my innocence,” he said.

The PSNI investigation took a further twist in June when the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson announced that he had suspended Mark Gilmore, who has been in the post of West Yorkshire chief constable for a year.

He is not one of the eight people arrested in connection with this investigation.

“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,” said Mr Burns-Williamson.

“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,” he added.

Mr Gilmore, who was born in 1964, is a former RUC and PSNI officer who before his appointment as chief constable of West Yorkshire was deputy chief constable of Northumbria police force.