Belfast Telegraph

George Hamilton will be next PSNI chief constable

George Hamilton has been appointed the next chief constable for the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Matt Baggott is stepping down in September after five years in the high profile role.

Hamilton, currently Assistant Chief Constable, was up against Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick and Garda Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne for the job.

All three were interviewed by members of the PSNI's oversight body - the NI Policing Board - in Belfast with the successful candidate announced on Thursday afternoon.

DUP Policing Board member Jonathan Craig swiftly welcomed the appointment, saying Mr Hamilton "knows the intricacies and complexity of issues facing policing here".

"I look forward to working with him and wish him all the best in a role which will obviously be very demanding, but which I know he will carry out with enthusiasm and the utmost professionalism," he added.

The board's decision was approved by Justice Minister David Ford.

Mr Hamilton joined the RUC in 1985. He has served as Chief Superintendent and District Commander in B District (South and East Belfast) and ACC Crime in Strathclyde, where he was involved in a number of high profile and complex investigations.

He has also worked in England for three years on a range of training and organisational development projects.

Currently he is responsible for District Policing Rural in Northern Ireland, which covers an area of approximately 11,700 square kilometres and a population of approximately 900,00. This is delivered through 4 District Command Units each led by a Chief Superintendent.

Mr Hamilton will face a stacked in-tray when he takes over as Chief Constable.

The PSNI is currently trying to balance a dwindling budget with its ongoing fight against dissident republican terrorism.

Its resources are also being stretched trying to fulfil its obligations to both investigate and provide information to the Coroners Service in regard to historic Troubles-related cases.

Also, last year almost 850 officers were injured in rioting linked to disputes over flags and parades.

With Northern Ireland's politicians having failed to strike any deal to resolve the issues, the spectre of a recurrence of disorder this summer again looms large.

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