Belfast Telegraph

Tributes to departing commander

Retiring police commander Judith Gillespie was hailed an inspiration as she attended her last meeting of the Policing Board as deputy chief constable.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott paid tribute to his departing colleague, who is stepping down after more than 30 years in the PSNI.

The mother-of-two leaves as the highest ranking female officer in Northern Ireland.

"Judith has made not just a huge contribution to policing, she has made a massive contribution to policing," said Mr Baggott.

"Her contribution is not only recognised and valued here in Northern Ireland but, as I know, nationally and, I have to say, internationally as well.

"As one of the most senior women in policing she has undoubtedly been an inspiration.

"These are my personal words, but I know they will be recognised by everybody. Integrity, thoughtfulness and professionalism in the way she has led the PSNI has led us to a place of the highest confidence in policing ever achieved. I actually think that has an awful lot to do with the leadership of Judith Gillespie."

Mr Baggott added: "I can't thank her enough for the constant support and sound advice that she has given me as chief constable. We will miss her leadership very dearly and we wish her every success for the future."

Two years ago Mrs Gillespie spurned a £500,000 retirement payout offered under peace process policing reforms to continue serving in the PSNI.

Policing Board chair Anne Connolly noted that Mrs Gillespie had attended more than 100 meetings of the board.

"I think for that you deserve a medal," she joked.

Ms Connolly added: "On behalf of all of the board members we sincerely wish you all the best, your work over the years on behalf of the entire community is very much appreciated and you have been an absolutely superb ambassador for policing."


From Belfast Telegraph