Belfast Telegraph

I'm ready for potentially turbulent summer, says new PSNI chief George Hamilton

By Deborah McAleese

George Hamilton says he is confident he can lead the PSNI through a potentially turbulent summer as he prepares to take over as Chief Constable this week.

Mr Hamilton said that officers are ready to face the challenging marching season and that the PSNI's public order units are prepared should violence erupt.

Mutual aid officers from other UK forces are also on standby should assistance be needed during disorder.

Last year, on July 12, mutual aid was required from England, Wales and Scotland after serious trouble erupted in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.

Ahead of any potential deployment, Police Federation chairman Terry Spence warned of concerns among mutual aid officers that they were not being sufficiently paid for their duty, that training was inadequate, and they were not properly equipped to deal with the environment.

Mr Spence said that mutual aid officers should be allowed to carry firearms for personal protection.

The First and Deputy First Ministers have cancelled a planned investment trip to Brazil over fears of trouble during this summer's parades.

Peter Robinson said he believed that "things are so serious that to be out of Northern Ireland at this time would be entirely wrong".

It will be a challenging time for Assistant Chief Constable Hamilton, who has bypassed the Deputy Chief Constable post to take over from Matt Baggott. However, he insisted that he was relishing the challenge ahead.

"While I am not arrogant about this step up and skipping the deputy rank, I do have a certain self-belief coupled with humility.

"But as well as personal confidence I also have a first-class senior team coming with me – I have had a personal hand in selecting a cadre of superintendents and chief superintendents," he told

Mr Hamilton added: "My new role is more than me – it is about team PSNI, which has been shaped and moulded by Matt Baggott over the past five years.

"I would like to acknowledge his contribution to policing – he has brought rigour to the governance and management of our force."

Chief Constable Baggott announced in January that he was going to retire from the post. A few weeks earlier his deputy Judith Gillespie also announced her retirement.

Orange march in north Belfast passes peacefully 

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