Belfast Telegraph

PSNI's new Chief Constable set to be unveiled

 

Chief Constable George Hamilton
Chief Constable George Hamilton
Mark Hamilton
Jon Boutcher
Stephen Martin
Simon Byrne
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

The PSNI is expected to announce the successor to retiring Chief Constable George Hamilton later today.

The final two of four interviews will be held today and a special meeting of the Policing Board will take place at 5pm.

Two PSNI officers - Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin and Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton - are in the running against two from English forces - Jon Boutcher and Simon Byrne - for the £207,000 a year job.

A panel of seven Policing Board members will select the new Chief Constable, but only four of the five main parties are represented after SDLP member Dolores Kelly withdrew for personal reasons.

The new chief is expected to take up the post when Mr Hamilton retires next month.

The 51-year-old has been Chief Constable of the PSNI since 2014 and was offered a two-year extension but opted to retire after 34 years of service.

An announcement is expected this evening, once Secretary of State Karen Bradley accepts the Policing Board's recommendation in the absence of a justice minister at Stormont.

Until last year Mr Byrne was Chief Constable of Cheshire Police, while Mr Boutcher is the head of Bedfordshire Police, though last month he announced he is to leave the position after five years in the role.

Mr Boutcher has strong links to the PSNI and for the last three years has been heading a major inquiry into the historical activities of the army agent within the IRA known as Stakeknife.

The interview process will be monitored by external advisers after Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald suggested the new Chief Constable should not come from within the PSNI.

The board took legal advice on keeping MLAs on the interview panel and hired a firm of external advisors to monitor scoring.

As the sole SDLP MLA on the board, Ms Kelly could not be replaced by anyone else in the party. The seven-person interview panel now consists of Anne Connolly OBE (chair), John Blair (Alliance), Alan Chambers (UUP), Linda Dillon (SF), Mervyn Storey (DUP) and independents Colm McKenna and Wendy Osborne.

In the running

Stephen Martin

Appointed Temporary Deputy Chief Constable last August. He has over 32 years of service and was previously responsible for the PSNI's crime operations department. His portfolio includes criminal investigations branch, serious crime branch, intelligence branch, specialist operations branch,crime operations support branch and public protection branch. He has a master's degree in business administration, is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and also holds a diploma in company direction. He received the Queen's Police Medal in 2013 and an OBE in 2018.

Mark Hamilton

The Assistant Chief Constable began his career in 1994. In 2009 he was promoted to Chief Superintendent and took over as District Commander in north and west Belfast. In July 2013 he was promoted to Assistant Chief Constable, service improvement department. Since February 2016 he has headed the legacy and justice department. Has a BA in French and Latin from Trinity College, Dublin, a master's in social science in criminology and criminal justice from QUB, a master's in science in police leadership and management from Leicester University, and a master's in human rights Law from QUB.

Simon Byrne

Joined Metropolitan Police as a constable in 1982. Transferred to Merseyside Police in 1985. Was promoted to Assistant Chief Constable in 2006 before moving to Greater Manchester Police in 2009 as Deputy Chief Constable. In 2011 he returned to the Metropolitan Police as Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing, before being appointed Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary in February 2014. In August 2017 he was suspended over 74 misconduct claims but cleared in December 2018. His contract expired while on suspension. Awarded Queen's Police Medal in 2016 New Year Honours.

Jon Boutcher

Announced intention to quit as Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police in April this year. Currently leading probe into Troubles murders allegedly carried out by the army agent in IRA known as Stakeknife. Has over 30 years' service, mainly with Metropolitan Police. Also worked on regional and national crime squad. Led the manhunt that identified three men who tried to carry out suicide bombings on London Underground in July 2005. Has also managed national police network in England and Wales for counter terrorism. Has a master's from Cambridge in criminology and executive police management.

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