Belfast Telegraph

Following a new line - PSNI chief catches brown trout at World Police and Fire Games

PSNI chief catches his quarry, a brown trout, in police and fire games fly-fishing

BY MICHELLE SMYTH

From catching criminals to catching fish – Chief Constable Matt Baggott has a knack for both.

After a stressful few months on the job, the PSNI's top man enjoyed a rare few moments of serenity yesterday as he took some time out from his hectic schedule to take part in the World Police and Fire Games pairs fly-fishing competition.

Mr Baggott looked right at home in the rustic natural surroundings of the Killylane Reservoir, near Ballymena.

One of our most high-profile participants in the games, he was captured on camera expertly catching a brown trout as he competed alongside Icelandic fireman Bjarni Ingimarsson against another fishing duo.

The event, which continues today, is a catch and release-based competition with the total weight of the fish going towards the overall result.

Last week, the senior officer joked about netting a gold medal in the competition, but whether he wins or not, he seemed to be having a great time just taking part in the relaxing sport.

A keen angler, Mr Baggott dropped into a cross-community event at the beginning of the summer hosted by charity Angling First.

He discussed the positive work the organisation carries out with young people and even took the time to give schoolchildren some tips on casting.

Fellow avid fisherman and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness recently said he regretted not being made an honorary PSNI member so he could take part in the competition.

The idyllic scene is in contrast to recent months in which Mr Baggott and his officers have had to deal with violent riots and protests on the streets of Belfast, a string of drug-related deaths and criticism related to a number of investigations.

Last week, relatives of people killed in the 1971 McGurk's Bar bombing in north Belfast challenged the Chief Constable to release details of a Historical Enquiries Team investigation into the atrocity.

A High Court action has been lodged by several families in a bid to get him to hand over the report that was concluded in December last year.

The families are claiming that Mr Baggot has blocked the release of the report.

It was revealed yesterday that the families of 20 people killed by soldiers during the Troubles are suing Mr Baggot.

The families believe that the killings were not investigated properly by the Historical Enquiries Team, which Mr Baggott is responsible for.

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