Belfast Telegraph

Police board chief promises value

The new chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board has vowed the organisation will provide a "value for money" service.

Brian Rea was elected to head the new board, with Sinn Fein's Gearoid O hEara to take on the role of vice chair.

They promised a new beginning for the board, after it was slammed by an independent report which questioned its direction and its handling of its annual budget of around £9million.

Mr Rea said: "It is no secret that there have been some criticisms of the board's role in recent months.

"In leading the board over the next term, I expect my colleagues to work hard to ensure that the public can have confidence that the statutory accountability responsibilities of this organisation are met on all fronts and that value for money is delivered in our work and that of policing.

"There is no doubt that we will have some challenging issues to deal with but this new board brings new energy and new opportunities and I look forward to working with my colleagues and PSNI to ensure that we do our best for the public."

The new figureheads were selected for a two-year term at the first meeting of the new-look board, which includes a string of new political and independent board members.

Having served two terms, former chairmen Sir Desmond Rea and Barry Gilligan did not return. Mr Gilligan voluntarily stepped down from his role last year while police investigated his role in a Belfast land deal. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

The independent appointments include a senior GAA official. Ryan Feeney, head of community development, strategy and public affairs with the Ulster Council, is one of nine independents who will join 10 MLAs on the police's independent scrutiny body.

Another is Brian Rowntree, chairman of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

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