Leeds & West Yorkshire

Keighley Council faces police investigation over 'unlawful' actions

Keighley Civic Centre Image copyright Google
Image caption Keighley Town Council's decision to develop a new civic centre came in for heavy criticism in the audit report

Keighley Town Council could be investigated by the police after an audit found "significant weaknesses" in local governance.

Keighley MP Kris Hopkins has written to police asking them to investigate.

An audit by PKF Littlejohn LLP found the council had made decisions "without consideration of its legal powers" and may have taken "unlawful actions".

The council's decision to develop a new civic centre came in for heavy criticism in the audit report.

Auditors said the council may have broken the law by trading via the civic centre museum shop.

The audit also picked up on "mathematical errors" in budget documents which "could potentially have influenced decisions made in respect of funding required for 2013-14".

'Reckless and arrogant'

In response to Mr Hopkins' letter, West Yorkshire Police's temporary chief constable Dee Collins said investigators from the economic crime unit would be contacting the auditors.

She said: "Once this review and assessment is completed, we will be in a stronger position to understand if any criminal offences have taken place within the town council."

Mr Hopkins said: "I have been a long-standing critic of Keighley Town Council and, alongside a number of tireless and committed local residents, have raised countless concerns about its reckless and arrogant approach to spending public money.

"This report confirms in graphic detail that our fears were well-founded."

Keighley Town Council said it had received independent legal advice that found the council had not acted outside the law.

Mayor Graham Mitchell added: "There is no evidence of criminality whatsoever in the report."

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