Belfast Telegraph

Matt Baggott: I’m not quitting job of PSNI Chief Constable

By Brian Rowan

Chief Constable Matt Baggott has told the Belfast Telegraph he has no plans to leave his job — and is working to the five-year contract he signed last year.

His comments are a response to rumours and newspaper reports that he wants to leave the top PSNI post just 16 months after taking over from Sir Hugh Orde.

“My diary is full of commitments beyond next autumn,” Mr Baggott told this newspaper.

“I’ve got a five-year contract. Nothing has changed.”

Asked about the rumour, he responded: “I think it’s coming from a small hard core.

“Reform always brings with it people who find it difficult to move on.”

Another source said the rumour is circulating both inside and outside the PSNI.

“Change always brings uncertainty,” that source said.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Baggott addressed the big policing issues — continuing reform, budget, dissident threat, and the question of the past.

On the last of those issues, Secretary of State Owen Paterson is expected to outline his plans in the new year.

“It does require money and people,” Mr Baggott said.

“There are a lot of people who remain frustrated. They haven’t got clarity around what happened.”

In the absence of any agreed process, he said he remained “totally committed to the Historical Enquiries Team and to making sure that inquests can move ahead speedily”.

Looking to the future, he said: “I’m cautiously optimistic that we will have a budget that will enable us to plan for the next four or five years, rather than dealing with things in the year.

“We can continue to reform.”

He said the dissident republican threat remains severe and spoke of his regret at that situation.

“We’ve seen that consistently since I arrived and it continues.

“I’m deeply saddened that we have a hard core of people who see violence as the way forward rather than politics.”

Mr Baggott has already signalled that with the phasing out of the full-time reserve he will have to move officers from frontline duties to guard stations.

Of his hopes for the coming years, he told the Belfast Telegraph of his desire “that we are allowed to police for everybody, and particularly the next generation of young people growing up”.

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