Belfast Telegraph

Simon Byrne appointed as new PSNI chief constable

Simon Byrne is the former head of Cheshire Police.

Simon Byrne
Simon Byrne
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

Simon Byrne is to be appointed as the new chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Mr Byrne, who until last year was the chief constable of Cheshire Police, will succeed retiring PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton.

The Northern Ireland Policing Board unanimously agreed to ratify the recommendation of the Appointment Panel to appoint Mr Byrne following the retirement of Mr Hamilton at the end of June.

Anne Connolly, the Policing Board chair, said: “I am pleased to confirm that Simon Byrne QPM is the successful candidate from this competition.

"Policing is one of Northern Ireland’s most important public services with the community rightly expecting the highest standards from its officers and staff.

"Mr Byrne brings a wealth of strategic and operational policing experience to the role  - he has 36 years of policing experience, 21 years as a Chief Officer and almost 8 as a Chief Constable serving the Metropolitan Police, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire. 

"We are looking forward to working with him in further developing the PSNI as a highly professional and community focused organisation.

"With this leadership position carrying significant organisational responsibilities the appointment necessarily comprised a rigorous selection process involving a panel of seven Board Members. 

"Based on the key principles of merit, fairness, openness and transparency, independent scrutiny was incorporated at all stages of the competition to provide added probity and assurance."

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Jon Boutcher, Stephen Martin, Mark Hamilton and Simon Byrne

Mr Byrne's appointment is subject to the approval by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley.

Three other candidates were interviewed for the £207,489 salary job.

Two PSNI officers - Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin and Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton - and Jon Boutcher who is head of Bedfordshire Police.

DUP Policing Board Group leader Mervyn Storey MLA said: “We look forward to working with the new Chief Constable as he takes forward his vision for policing in Northern Ireland. 

"I thank all the candidates for their contribution during the appointment process and I congratulate Mr Byrne on being the successful applicant. 

"Importantly this was unanimous appointment. The real work commences now as we seek to improve policing and tackle those issues which need addressed so our communities feel safe in their homes and proud of their police force.”

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill said: “Sinn Féin looks forward to working with the new Chief Constable Simon Byrne.

“Action is required to rebuild and redevelop public confidence in policing.

"Sinn Féin urges the incoming Chief Constable to commit to policing with the community as the core principle and basis for progressing  modern policing.

“Sinn Féin has consistently called for the responsibility of dealing with legacy to be removed from the PSNI and handed over to the new proposed independent legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House.

“The delays in implementing the legacy structures agreed by the two governments and the political parties at Stormont House in 2014 must end."

Simon Byrne career Biography:

He is the former Chief Constable of Cheshire Police from 2014-2017. He was the Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police from 2009 to 2011 and the Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing in the Metropolitan Police Service from 2011 to 2014. He then served as Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary from 2014 to 2017.

Mr Byrne began his career in the police when he joined the Metropolitan Police Service as a constable in 1982. He transferred to Merseyside Police in 1985 and served as the commander of the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley between 2002 and 2004.

In 2006, he was promoted to Assistant Chief Constable. This is a chief officer rank therefore he joined the Association of Chief Police Officers. Within Merseyside Police he served as ACC Operations and ACC Personnel. In February 2009, he transferred to Greater Manchester Police, becoming Deputy Chief Constable. In 2011, he returned to the Metropolitan Police Service as the Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing.

On 24 February 2014, he was selected as the next Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary.

Mr Byrne was awarded the Queen's Police Medal (QPM) in the 2016 New Year Honours.

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