Court papers accuse ex-chief constable of `misusing resources and mistreating staff`

A former chief officer has been accused of making inappropriate sexual comments to female colleagues and abusing overtime payments in court documents submitted by a police and crime commissioner (PCC).

Oct 5, 2017

A former chief officer has been accused of making inappropriate sexual comments to female colleagues and abusing overtime payments in court documents submitted by a police and crime commissioner (PCC). Mark Gilmore, who served as the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police for less than two years, was also said to have sworn at and “thrown items at staff in rage”. The accusations were made by West Yorkshire PCC Mark Burns-Williamson in papers submitted to the High Court. According to the documents, he was made aware of the claims against Mr Gilmore after whistleblowers came forward in August 2016. They alleged that he treated colleagues inappropriately; made comments of a sexual nature to female staff; used resources for personal errands such as picking up his wife from the airport and bypassed the official procurement process to employ a friend in a senior management role. Mr Gilmore has denied the allegations. In a statement, his solicitor Ernie Waterworth 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.” In April, the former chief constable applied to the High Court for a judicial review over the “continuing failure” of Mr Burns-Williamson to rule on whether he had a case to answer for misconduct. Mr Gilmore was suspended on full pay from West Yorkshire Police in June 2014 in connection with the allegedly corrupt award of police vehicle contracts in Northern Ireland. The Belfast-born officer was told he had no criminal case to answer the following year by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and his suspension was lifted, but he then became the subject of a misconduct investigation by Lancashire Constabulary. Instead of returning to his post, Mr Gilmore confirmed his retirement on August 9, 2015 – two weeks after an independent Lancashire Constabulary report into his conduct was received by the West Yorkshire PCC. The report was never published, but court papers say that as of July 2016, Mr Burns-Williamson “was of the view that [Mr Gilmore] did have a case to answer for misconduct”. However, misconduct proceedings were not pursued, as police officers who retired from service could not be subject to retrospective disciplinary action at the time. The force reportedly spent £400,000 on his wages while he was suspended and later redeployed. Mr Gilmore claims he was “wrongly accused of misconduct”. In court 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.” Mr Gilmore’s application is set to be heard at the High Court next month. The former chief constable and West Yorkshire PCC will come face to face at a two-day hearing due to take place at the Royal Courts of Justice from November 1.

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