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Stephen Martin rules out PSNI legal action over job snub


PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin after receiving his OBE in 2018

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin after receiving his OBE in 2018

Stephen Martin / Twitter

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin after receiving his OBE in 2018

Former PSNI temporary deputy chief constable Stephen Martin has ruled out taking legal action against the force after he was overlooked in the recruitment process to fill his position permanently.

He said taking action against the police - which he served for over three decades - "would not sit comfortably with him".

Mr Martin announced he would retire in February after it emerged he was not shortlisted to be interviewed for the role, despite acting in a temporary capacity since August 2018.

At the time Mr Martin said he felt he had "a number of years" left to serve in the force, however "regrettably this did not work out".

He said he was weighing up his legal options.

In a statement to the BBC on Thursday he said he reached the decision not to go to the courts after considering “the negative and personal toll” a case would take.

He added: “Also, taking legal action against my former employer of 34 years would not sit comfortably with me.”

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The Ulster Unionist MLA Alan Chambers, who was to be one of five politicians on the interview panel for the position, withdrew from the process raising concerns about fairness.

He wrote to the Policing Board to voice his concerns saying his confidence in this recruitment process was "far short of where it needs to be".

Mr Martin (51) began his policing career as a cadet at the age of 16 and was previously responsible for the PSNI's Crime Operations Department.

He was among the final candidates who was interviewed for the role of chief constable last year, missing out to Simon Byrne.

Mr Martin was awarded the Queen's Police Medal in the 2013 Birthday Honours list and received an OBE in 2018.

In his final tweet as a police officer, Mr Martin said he loved every day of his 34 years of service.

"Often challenging, at times heart breaking but always a privilege," he posted alongside a picture of him as a young officer and as temporary deputy chief constable.

It is understood four out of eight applicants for the deputy chief constable post were not called for interview on the basis of their application forms.

Mark Hamilton was later appointed as the new Deputy Chief Constable for the PSNI.

The position comes with an annual salary of £168,000.

The Policing Board said it had no further comment to make.

“The Board’s recruitment process for the Deputy Chief Constable position was based and progressed on the principles of merit, fairness and openness,” it said in a previous statement.

“The Board was satisfied that the process was rigorous, fair and lawful at all stages.”

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