The police commander of the operation that ultimately led to the controversial fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes is among six UK police officers who will compete in the race to be Northern Ireland’s next Chief Constable.
The list of candidates is believed to include Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick — the lead officer in the police operation that led to the killing of unarmed Brazilian Jean Charles in London’s Stockwell tube station in July 2005.
It is understood seven officers applied for the post of PSNI Chief Constable, but one has since withdrawn.
Sir Hugh Orde will leave the post at the start of September to become the new president of the Association of Chief Police |Officers. He has been here for seven years.
Others understood to be in the race for the top policing job here include Merseyside Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe.
Like Sir Hugh, he competed for the post of Metropolitan Police Commissioner earlier this year.
Chief Constable of Leicestershire Constabulary Matt Baggott and Jon Stoddart from Durham are also in the field, along with two other chief constables.
The Policing Board will compile its shortlist next month and interviews are scheduled for early August.
But is not yet clear when the new Chief Constable will arrive at police headquarters. “As soon as possible,” one source commented.
Sir Hugh’s decision to leave and the retirement of his deputy Paul Leighton means there are due to be some big changes soon at the top of the PSNI.
Judith Gillespie was recently appointed deputy Chief Constable.
Sir Hugh and his senior team managed the sweeping changes recommended in the Patten |Report, and the Chief Constable points to Sinn Fein’s involvement in policing as one of the big successes during his time here.
Part of the unfinished business is the devolution of policing and justice powers — but the Chief Constable is convinced it is now |simply a question of time before it is achieved.
“I have said quite clearly that there is no policing reason |why it can’t happen,” he said recently
“We are ready for it and I think that when local people take responsibility for local policing the end game of Patten has been achieved and policing with the community will go from strength to strength.”