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PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton Twitter grilling on staffing, rural crime and, er, Smarties

By Steven Alexander

Published 11/08/2016

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton

The PSNI Chief Constable was brought in for interrogation last night - by his followers on Twitter.

Questions put to George Hamilton by social media users ranged from the serious to the utterly ridiculous in the hour-long quiz.

Mr Hamilton, who is a veteran of Twitter Q&A sessions with the public, revealed everything from how many officers he wants to recruit to how many Smarties can fit in a PSNI Land Rover.

Using the hashtag #AskChiefCon, a Twitter user called Martin asked the PSNI chief: "When is next recruitment campaign for Police Constables?"

Mr Hamilton, whose Twitter handle is @ChiefConPSNI, replied: "Timing of next recruitment campaign is still TBC (to be confirmed). Depending on budget an estimated 300-400 people will be recruited."

Andyg continued with the theme: "Budgets aside is there any appetite to recruit part time officers?"

Mr Hamilton revealed that the PSNI is now examining its workforce model and "part time officers will be considered in this review".

However, one Assembly Member seemed surprised at policing levels in one particular unit.

Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann asked: "How many officers are currently in the PSNI Rural Crime Unit?" Mr Hamilton responded: "There is no rural crime unit, but it remains a priority in relevant areas and is tackled on a daily basis."

A nonplussed Mr Swann replied: "When was it disbanded - there was a lot of fanfare when it was established?"

But there was no reply to that query.

No Twitter Q&A can end without things taking a surreal twist, and last night's was no exception. Diarmuid MacAoidh asked: "How many Smarties does it take to fill a Land Rover? Has anyone ever tried putting Smarties in a Land Rover?"

Mr Hamilton seemed remarkably well-informed on how many of the sweets could fit into different types of the PSNI's armoured Land Rovers - "3,698,167 Smarties in a Pangolin, 4,092,473 in a Tangi."

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