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Former top cop connected to lost keys controversy

Former assistant chief constable Duncan McCausland
Connla Young

A FLEET of cars which lay unused by the PSNI for up to three years is at the centre of an investigation involving former assistant chief constable Duncan McCausland, it has emerged.

The investigation involves the awarding of PSNI vehicle contracts.

Mr McCausland retired from the PSNI in 2011 under the Patten redundancy scheme.

The Irish News revealed last week that the 69 Skoda Octavia cars had been parked up at the PSNI’s Seapark complex near Carrickfergus in Co Antrim after their keys were lost.

They disappeared in September 2014 and only turned up earlier this month.

It is believed they were eventually found around 20 miles away at a PSNI station at Sprucefield, near Lisburn.

Police originally intended armouring the vehicles at a cost of up to £2.5 million but that the plan was put on hold because of "an ongoing police investigation".

Once of the PSNI’s most senior officers, Mr McCausland was one of several men arrested last year by officers investigating vehicle contracts.

He was questioned for three days at Antrim PSNI station and later "strenuously" denied any wrong doing.

Others arrested included a serving police officer and a civilian who worked in the PSNIs transport department.

The Irish News understands that eight people connected to the case have been reported to the Public Prosecution Service.

It is believed five people have been reported for procuring misconduct in a public office and three have been reported for the offence of misconduct in a public office.

It is understood the case is complex and involves more than 20,000 pages.

A spokesman for the PPS said: "The file is under active consideration and a decision as to prosecution will be taken in due course."

Police said the unused fleet of cars cost the taxpayer £828,000 and the cost of replacing the lost keys totalled £12,000.

A spokesman for the PSNI said the cars "have now been utilised within the PSNI fleet as non-armoured vehicles."

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