Northern Ireland news

Suspended DUP councillor William Walker not being investigated by local government watchdog

William Walker was released on bail pending further inquiries

A SUSPENDED DUP councillor arrested on suspicion of child sexual grooming is not being investigated by the watchdog for local authority members.

William Walker (59), who sits on Newry, Mourne and Down district council (NMDDC), was arrested in February on suspicion of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

He was later released on bail pending further inquiries.

The allegations stem from claims made to the PSNI by so called 'paedophile hunters' based in England.

The self-styled group uses what they call 'decoys' to pose as under-age children and wait to be contacted by adults.

The DUP has already suspended the councillor from the party pending the outcome of the police investigation.

The office for the Northern Ireland Local Government for Commissioner of Standards has now confirmed that it has not received a complaint to investigate.

"All council representatives must sign a code of conduct agreement before taking office," said a LGCS spokesperson.

"Councillors who come under scrutiny can receive sanctions, suspensions and a maximum five year ban from standing for election.

"The LGCS deals directly with councillors who may have acted below the code of conduct.

"However, it relies on a complaint being made by the council, other councillors or even members of the public."

It is understood the Rowallane councillor does not have to answer bail for some months.

Mr Walker, who is a former mayor of the legacy Newry and Mourne district council, remains a councillor on NMDDC.

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