No prosecution against men arrested over police contracts
NO prosecutions will be taken against eight men arrested as part of an investigation into the awarding of PSNI vehicle contracts, the Public Prosecution Service revealed yesterday.
The men - including retired PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland - were arrested on suspicion of offences including bribery, misconduct in public office and procuring misconduct in public office.
The eight included former and serving officers, police employees and civilians.
A ninth man, Mark Gilmore, a former PSNI officer who later became chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, was told in April he would not face prosecution.
The Public Prosecution Service said yesterday the men would not be prosecuted because the available evidence made it unlikely anyone would be convicted.
A spokeswoman said: "The decision was taken following a careful consideration of a large and complex file submitted to the PPS by the PSNI".
"It has been concluded that the Test for Prosecution is not met as the available evidence does not provide a reasonable prospect of a conviction," she said.
As part of the test for prosecution, the prosecutor must decide whether anyone will be convicted based on the available evidence and also if the prosecution is in the public interest.
All nine men were arrested in 2014 following a massive police operation that covered both Northern Ireland and England.
Several searches at homes and business premises were carried out and several items were seized.
It is understood the investigation centred on a fleet of cars which lay unused by the PSNI for up to three years.
The Irish News revealed that 69 Skoda Octavias had been parked 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 in August 2015.
Mr McCausland and Mr Gilmore had previously strenuously denied any wrong-doing.
Mr McCausland left the PSNI in 2011 with a £500,000 package under the Patten redundancy scheme, having served with the RUC and then the PSNI since 1983.
During the lengthy investigation, Mr Gilmore was suspended on full pay for more than a year.
His suspension was lifted after it was confirmed he would not face prosecution. But he has not yet returned to his old job.
Following an inquiry, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said in August he had referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.