Leeds & West Yorkshire

Ex police chief 'asked staff to chauffeur his wife'

Mark Gilmore
Image caption Mr Gilmore was suspended in June 2014

A former police chief abused overtime payments, made inappropriate sexual comments to female colleagues and asked staff to pick his wife up from the airport, according to court documents.

Mark Gilmore, the ex-chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, is also said to have sworn at and "thrown items at staff in rage".

The claims were made by the region's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in papers submitted to the High Court.

Mr Gilmore has denied the allegations.

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According to the documents, PCC Mark Burns-Williamson was made aware of the claims against Mr Gilmore, which were later assessed as gross misconduct, after at least one whistleblower came forward in August 2014.

It is alleged that the former chief constable:

  • Treated colleagues inappropriately, swearing and throwing items at staff in rage;
  • Made comments of a sexual nature to female staff;
  • Misused police resources, asking staff to drive and wait for him at social events not connected to work, and pick his wife up from the airport, and;
  • Bypassed the official procurement process in order to employ a friend into a senior management role.

In a statement Mr Gilmore's solicitor, Ernie Waterworth, said his client "strenuously denied" the claims.

He said: "Rumour, innuendo and anonymous, unsubstantiated allegations that have never been tested nor put to my client will not deter him from seeking accountability through due legal process.

"It is worth noting that these anonymous allegations were not investigated, which meant that my client was denied the opportunity of offering strong rebuttal testimony in respect of each allegation through proper due process."

Image caption Mark Burns-Williamson was first elected to the post in 2012

Mr Gilmore was appointed chief constable in 2013 but was suspended by PCC Mark Burns-Williamson 14 months later in connection with an investigation into the awarding of vehicle contracts in Northern Ireland.

Investigators from the Police Service of Northern Ireland concluded in April 2015 there was insufficient evidence against Mr Gilmore to proceed and his suspension was lifted.

He did not return to the post, instead taking up a role with the National Police Chief's Council. He retired from the police service in August 2016.

According to police accounts the force spent £400,000 on his wages whilst he was suspended and later redeployed.

Image copyright West Yorkshire PCC
Image caption Dee Collins was appointed Chief Constable following Mr Gilmore's retirement

The new claims are contained in court papers submitted by Mr Burns-Williamson in connection with a judicial review instigated by Mr Gilmore.

He is seeking a High Court ruling on whether the PCC failed to complete a disciplinary process relating to the decision to suspend him in 2014.

Though a criminal investigation into the vehicle contracts resulted in no charges being brought, a separate internal police investigation was conducted by Lancashire Police at the behest of Mr Burns-Williamson.

The Lancashire Police report has never been published but according to the court papers as of July 2016 the PCC "was of the view that [Mr Gilmore] did have a case to answer for gross misconduct".

However, no disciplinary proceedings began as Mr Gilmore retired a fortnight later.

At the time, police officers who retired from service could not be subject to retrospective disciplinary action.

Mr Gilmore, however, claims that he was "wrongly accused of misconduct" and Mr Burns-Williamson's failure to complete the disciplinary procedure he left him with "no finality".

In the papers he states: "The defendant [Mr Burns-Williamson] has failed to comply with his statutory obligation to determine whether the claimant [Mr Gilmore] has a case to answer in respect of the allegation that was made against him. He should now be ordered to comply with that obligation."

Lancashire Police was asked to investigate the whistleblower allegations together with the vehicle contracts but said they were distinct from one another and would require separate inquiries.

Mr Gilmore's application is set to be heard at the High Court in November 2017.

  • Apr 2013 - Mark Gilmore appointed chief constable of West Yorkshire Police
  • Jun 2014 - Suspended in connection with an investigation into the awarding of vehicle contracts in Northern Ireland
  • Apr 2015 - Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for Northern Ireland say there is insufficient evidence to proceed with bribery and misconduct investigation
  • May 2015 - His suspension is lifted by West Yorkshire Police following the PPS' decision but he is seconded to the National Police Chief's Council
  • July 2016 - Lancashire Police complete investigation into Mr Gilmore but the report is never made public
  • Aug 2016 - The Police and Crime Commissioner announces Mr Gilmore is to retire from his post
  • Apr 2017 - Mr Gilmore applies to High Court for a judicial review
  • Nov 2017 - Judicial review scheduled to take place

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