Former PSNI assistant chief constable Duncan McCausland has said he "strenuously denies" any wrongdoing in relation to a police investigation into allegations about the awarding of contracts for the force's fleet of vehicles.
The PSNI investigation has also resulted in the chief constable of West Yorkshire police force Mark Gilmore, originally from the Shankill in Belfast and a former RUC and PSNI officer, being suspended yesterday. As part of the continuing investigation a 48-year-old PSNI officer and a 37-year-old PSNI staff member, both arrested on Tuesday, have been suspended from duty.
Mr McCausland (54), who was one of the North’s most high-ranking police officers, was arrested on Tuesday as part of a wider police investigation into a range of alleged offences including bribery, misconduct in public office and procuring misconduct in public office.
He was released on Thursday night from Antrim police station pending a report being sent to the public prosecutor.
“I am going to go out of my way to ensure I can prove my innocence,” said Mr McCausland as he left the station. He said he “strenuously denies” any misconduct.
He said he was “disappointed” to be arrested and that he was happy to be a “voluntary attender” and remain at the station “throughout the entire process to fully assist the police”.
“I’ve actually told them that I’m happy to come back and assist them with anything else that they wish to talk to me about,” he told the BBC.
The PSNI investigation took a further twist this evening with the West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson announcing that he has suspended Mr Gilmore, who has been in post as West Yorkshire chief constable for a year.
“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.
Mr Gilmore, who was born in 1964, is a former RUC and PSNI officer who was previously deputy chief constable of Northumbria police force.
Mr McCausland (54) was one of seven men arrested in Northern Ireland and England since Tuesday. All seven have now been released pending reports being sent to the public prosecutor.
Mr McCausland retired from the PSNI in 2011 with what is understood to have been a £500,000 severance package. He was one of five assistant chief constables, the third highest rank in the PSNI.
He is a member of the board of the Northern Irish Tourism Board and was involved in efforts to bring the Giro D’Italia to Ireland.
He is also a Deputy Lieutenant for Co Down, representing Queen Elizabeth in the county, and a committee member of the Prince's Trust Council for Northern Ireland.