Belfast Telegraph

Top PSNI officer Will Kerr lands key job at National Crime Agency

By Cate McCurry

One of Northern Ireland's top PSNI officers is set to take on a senior role at the National Crime Agency.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr has been offered the job of director of NCA's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command on a temporary basis.

ACC Kerr is currently responsible for the PSNI's crime operations department, which covers organised crime, special operations and major investigations.

It is not yet known when he will begin the new post.

The senior officer has 25 years policing experience in Northern Ireland, including his responsibility for policing in the greater Belfast area. His previous roles include Assistant Chief Constable Criminal Justice, Head of the Police College, District Commander in both Ballymena and Newtownabbey district command units and Senior Investigating Officer in Belfast, leading on a number of high profile murder and other serious crime investigations.

A spokesman for the PSNI said: "ACC Kerr has been offered a secondment position of director of the NCA's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command.

"Discussions are ongoing with his employer, the Northern Ireland Policing Board, regarding the terms of the contract."

His recent career within the PSNI, however, has been marred by controversy after he became embroiled in an employment tribunal.

He was named in the tribunal taken last month by Detective Inspector Conor McStravick and Detective Sergeant Geoff Ferris ­- the officer who secured a confession from double killer Hazel Stewart.

They pair claimed there was a conspiracy against them by a number of senior PSNI officers, including Mr Kerr.

A barrister for the PSNI denied there was a "conspiracy" against the officers.

However, the hearing has been re-listed for later this month after the emergence of a new document delayed proceedings.

In November last year, Mr Kerr settled an alleged discrimination case with the PSNI after he missed out on a top post.

He lodged an application for an employment tribunal on the grounds of religious and political bias after he failed in his bid to become deputy chief constable.

However, the case was settled a week before it was due to be heard.

Mr Kerr was also the commander in charge of the PSNI's operation of the violent loyalist flag protests in December 2012 and January 2013, which was heavily criticised in the High Court. The officer, who received an OBE in June last year, was told by a judge that police wrongly facilitated illegal and violent flag marches.

The PSNI website states that Mr Kerr led on "most of the significant events in Belfast over the past few years".

This included the MTV European Music Awards and policing large scale parades and disorder, as well as being the Gold Commander for the PSNI's Twelfth of July policing operation for the past three years.

by cate mccurry

Belfast Telegraph


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