WEST Yorkshire Police chief constable Mark Gilmore has been suspended over alleged “criminal activity during his time in Northern Ireland”.
A press conference was called this afternoon by Mark Burns-Williamson, police and crime commissioner for the county and the man with the power to hire or fire the chief constable.
In a statement, Mr Burns-Williamson said: “This morning I suspended the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, Mark Gilmore.
“The reason for this suspension is as a result of information I have received from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) arising from an investigation announced by them earlier this week.
“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.
“I have also referred this matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
“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.
“I will be keeping the suspension under review as the PSNI investigation proceeds and in the meantime I have asked Deputy Chief Constable, Dee Collins, to act up as Chief Constable for West Yorkshire.
“It would be inappropriate for me to make any further comments at this time.”
Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins said: “I hope to see this investigation brought to a speedy conclusion. Until that time I have taken on the role of Temporary Chief Constable.
“A short time ago, I briefed senior colleagues and we are all agreed that the most important thing now is to maintain our focus on serving the public.
“People should feel reassured that day to day service is unaffected and their Neighbourhood Policing Teams will continue to provide the local service they value.”
Mr Gilmore, who has been in his role for just over a year, was born in 1964 and spent his formative years in the Belfast area. Originally from the Shankill Road, he was educated at the Boys’ Model School in North Belfast.
According to the West Yorkshire Police website, he “spent a short period of time working in the Health Service before joining the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1983, which later became the Police Service of Northern Ireland”. He went on to become Assistant Chief Constable at the force.
He has also previously been Deputy Chief Constable for Northumbria Police and served as Assistant Chief Constable in West Yorkshire for two years.
When he was appointed last year, he replaced Sir Norman Bettison, who resigned in October amid mounting pressure following the inquiry into the 1989 Hillsborough football stadium disaster.