Belfast Telegraph

PSNI role is 'biggest challenge'

Matt Baggott has revealed he has turned down a number of recent invitations to apply for new jobs as he believes his role in Northern Ireland is the biggest challenge in policing.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland's top officer also indicated he would not be applying to be the new chief constable of the soon-to-be-created single Scottish Police Force.

"I think putting policing at the heart of a successful peace process with £135 million less (in the current budget period), reducing crime, getting into neighbourhoods where we haven't been welcomed before and absolutely securing the future here is probably the biggest challenge in policing," he said.

"I have deep respect for anybody who takes on the Scottish challenge but it's a job of restructuring - this is a job of securing the future of people in Northern Ireland and that is fantastic and I am very privileged to do that."

Mr Baggott added: "I've had people on the phone over the last few weeks about other things, I've thanked them very much politely for their interest, because I am here. I've had invitations but they've all been given a polite 'no thank you very much'."

The London-born 52-year-old Chief Constable has been in Belfast for two-and-a-half years and insists he has no plans to leave anytime soon.

"I never know where I'll be in five years, I've never planned a moment of my career, it's always circumstances have dictated where I am going to be," he said.

"My ambition at the moment, my only ambition is to make the PSNI the finest, incredibly personal, relevant organisation possible and very accountable to where we are in modern Northern Ireland and do everything we can to keep people safe and give people quality of life.

"That's not glib words to say - I've got 35 years of policing, I could've retired five years ago but I am absolutely dedicated to working with my colleagues here to do the best we can.

"So I don't have an ambition beyond tomorrow, I am here doing a job, I have been here over two-and-a-half years. (It's a) massive privilege to be in the middle of what is a fantastic journey for the people of Northern Ireland and trying to be relentlessly optimistic about that is what I am, and what I am here for. I don't have personal ambitions."

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