Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Top Catholic police officer's shock exit

Sheridan was tipped for Chief Constable's position

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Sheridan to take up new challenge

Northern Ireland's most senior Catholic police officer, who was tipped as the next Chief Constable, is making a shock exit from policing to head up a cross- border peace charity, it was announced today.

Londonderry-based Assistant Chief Constable Peter Sheridan, who started his career with the RUC 32 years ago, is due to sensationally leave the PSNI in September to become chief executive of Co-operation Ireland , a cross-border charity that aims to promote better relations between people on both sides of the border.

As head of the PSNI's Crime Operations Department Mr Sheridan's shock departure leaves a gap within the battle against serious and organised crime.

The 48-year-old, who was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours last year, today said he had decided to leave after more than 30 years with the police as he wanted to "pick up a new challenge".

Mr Sheridan will join Co-operation Ireland on September 8 and take up his £100,000 a year post when the current Chief Executive Tony Kennedy retires at the end of the year.

Announcing Mr Sheridan's new appointment today, Co-operation Ireland Board chairman Christopher Moran said Mr Sheridan's "track record of commitment to building better relations between different groups in our society has been evident throughout his career to date".

Mr Sheridan started his police career in 1978. As a young Catholic from Co Fermanagh he has said that his aim in joining the police was to protect and serve people from all communities and to make Northern Ireland a safer and better place.

Much of his service was in the north west where he rose through the ranks from Constable to Assistant Chief Constable.

During this time he was heavily involved in the sensitive negotiations around parades involving the unionist Apprentice Boys organisation and nationalist residents groups. Those talks resulted in an accommodation that facilitated a series of peaceful parades in Derry city centre.

In February 2006 he assumed responsibility for the PSNI's Crime Operations Department, made up of officers investigating serious crime, organised crime and intelligence.

Mr Sheridan, who graduated from the FBI Academy in 1999, said his new appointment was an "honour" and that Co-operation Ireland's commitment to building peace throughout Ireland at grassroots level " encapsulates everything I have passionately believed in throughout my career" .

He added: "In particular, the focus of Co-operation Ireland's work with communities is vital if we are to plant the seeds for a new society free of the shackles of intolerance, hatred and division.

Mr Sheridan will join Co-operation Ireland on September 8 and take up his £100,000 a year post when the current chief executive Tony Kennedy retires at the end of the year.

Announcing Mr Sheridan's new appointment today, Co-operation Ireland board chairman Christopher Moran said Mr Sheridan's "track record of commitment to building better relations between different groups in our society has been evident throughout his career to date".

Mr Sheridan started his police career in 1978. As a young catholic from Co Fermanagh, he has said that his aim in joining the police was to protect and serve people from all communities, and to make Northern Ireland a safer and better place.

Much of his service was in the north west where he rose through the ranks from Constable to Assistant Chief Constable.

During this time he was heavily involved in the sensitive negotiations around parades involving the unionist Apprentice Boys organisation and nationalist residents' groups.

Those talks resulted in a series of peaceful parades in Derry city centre.

In February 2006 he assumed responsibility for the PSNI's Crime Operations Department, made up of officers investigating serious crime, organised crime and intelligence.

Mr Sheridan, who graduated from the FBI Academy in 1999, said his new appointment was an "honour" and that Co-operation Ireland's commitment to building peace throughout Ireland at grassroots level " encapsulates everything I have passionately believed in throughout my career" .

He added: "In particular, the focus of Co-operation Ireland's work with communities is vital if we are to plant the seeds for a new society free of the shackles of intolerance, hatred and division.

"There have been remarkable changes in Ireland, north and south, over the past 14 years and I believe that future generations can look forward to the island as being a source of dignity, hope, and peace, brimming with confidence on the world stage."

Mr Sheridan is the latest high profile cop to leave the PSNI within the past few years.

Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kincaid retired in 2006 a short time after setting up the PSNI's Crime Operations department and ACC Alan McQuillan, who was once tipped to succeed Sir Ronnie Flanagan as Chief Constable, left policing to become boss of the Assets Recovery Agency.



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