West Yorkshire Chief Constable’s bid to stop publication of vital conduct report

Former West Yorkshire Chief Constable Mark Gilmore.
Former West Yorkshire Chief Constable Mark Gilmore.

The documents submitted to the High Court reveal the efforts by Mr Gilmore to stop the Lancashire Police misconduct report from being made public.

The Yorkshire Post, among others, has made requests for the police and crime commissioner to publish the dossier, which has been in his hands since July 26.

Last month, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request made in December, an official from the PCC’s office said the report was being withheld.

They said “persons with an interest in information in the investigation report” had objected to it being disclosed and and had hinted at legal action.

According to documents filed by the PCC, Mr Gilmore wrote two letters to him in November after he had informed him of requests for the report.

He wrote: “One comprehensively taking issue with the investigation and the report. The second, asserting that the defendant should not publish the report because the report was irrational, and because it contained personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998, and publication would violate the claimant’s right to life and right to respect for private and family life (articles 2 and 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights respectively).”

The PCC said he did not intend to publish the report while the legal case against him is ongoing.

But he said: “There has already been extensive publicity surrounding the criminal investigation, the claimant’s suspension and subsequent misconduct investigation. There is a...legitimate public interest in the conduct of the claimant while he was a very senior public official.

“The senior courts have repeatedly made clear that public confidence in and the reputation of the police service is a matter of the utmost public interest.”

In his legal claim, Mr Gilmore said publishing would be an “unusual step”. As part of his legal case, he has asked for an order stopping the PCC from publishing the report until he has determined whether there is a case to answer for misconduct.

His solicitors wrote: “Publication of the report...where the statutory process is not complete and the defendant has failed to determine whether this is a case to answer would be unfair and unlawful, and damaging to the claimant.”

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