Belfast Telegraph

Police Ombudsman to recruit a new chief as McAllister steps down

By Emma Deighan

The Police Ombudsman is seeking a new chief executive as its current leader retires due to ill health.

Adrian McAllister, who has held the £100,000 salaried post since 2013, is said to be focusing his time on his recovery, according to a spokesperson at the Ombudsman's office.

Before joining the organisation, Mr McAllister held a senior post at the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), a non departmental public body set up by the Government in response to the Soham murders.

He also undertook numerous roles in three different policing organisations: Lancashire Constabulary, West Midlands Police and Merseyside Police.

The Police Ombudsman, which was set up in the year 2000, is now seeking a replacement for Mr McAllister. It is looking for an individual who has demonstrated "strong leadership, governance and management credentials".

He or she will oversee its "complex and serious" investigations including current and historical files.

A spokesperson for the Ombudsman said: "Adrian will be an incredibly difficult act to follow, but we hope to find a new chief executive who will help lead the office with the type of vision, drive and determination which characterised his time here. We wish him well in his recovery."

The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland investigates complaints against the police made by members of the public and also matters of public interest involving the PSNI.

With 140 staff and a budget of £9m, the organisation handles around 3,000 complaints annually.

The incoming chief must have "acute political sensitivity, excellent judgment and the highest levels of integrity" reads the advertisement for the post.

"This appointment offers a real opportunity to deliver tangible improvements in police oversight and foster greater confidence in policing in Northern Ireland," it continues.

At a recent Good Friday Agreement event, Mark McConnell from the Police Ombudsman's Office praised its work over the years. He said: "In the Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland, we have a truly independent complaints and investigations system, which is not the case in many parts of the world. The office is held up as an example of best practice across the globe, so it is important to share that with the next generation of police officers, both here and in other parts of the UK."

The high profile vacancy at the Ombudsman's office comes just as the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute announced the appointment of Dr Stanley McDowell as its new chief executive.

Dr McDowell said he looked forward to the challenge of "leading the institute as it moves forward in its role of supporting DAERA and the agri-food industry through our various programmes of scientific work."

He continued: "AFBI plays a key role in improving agricultural production, protecting the agricultural and marine environments, and ensuring high standards of animal health, plant health and food safety and I look forward to working with staff and stakeholders as we look to invest in and develop our infrastructure and multidisciplinary scientific capability to meet the many global and local challenges that the agri-food sector faces."

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