Belfast Telegraph

Watch: 'Work to do' to make PSNI more representative says new chief

Swearing in as the new PSNI Chief Constable at Policing Board HQ today is Simon Byrne with Policing Board Chair Anne Connolly with JP Prof David Flynn. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
Swearing in as the new PSNI Chief Constable at Policing Board HQ today is Simon Byrne with Policing Board Chair Anne Connolly with JP Prof David Flynn. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
Pacemaker Press INTL 01-07-2019: PSNI chief constable: Simon Byrne begins top job. Simon Byrne has officially taken over as the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) on a five-year contract. The 56-year-old was appointed after interviews were held five weeks ago. On Monday, he succeeded Sir George Hamilton and became the PSNI's fifth chief constable at a Policing Board event in Belfast. It involved a short swearing-in ceremony in front of a justice of the peace. Simon Byrne pictured during the swearing in ceremony of the new chief constable at the NI Policing Board in Belfast with Policing Board Chair Anne Connolly,Deborah Watters (Vice Chair) and Prof David A Flynn Justice of the Peace. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
1st July 2019 Swearing in as the new PSNI Chief Constable at Policing Board HQ today is Simon Byrne with Policing Board Chair Anne Connolly and Vice Chair Debbie Watters (left) with JP Prof David Flynn. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 30/06/2019 Chief Constable Simon Byrne takes up his position today, Monday 1 July as the new Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Photo Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Press INTL 01-07-2019: PSNI chief constable: Simon Byrne begins top job. Simon Byrne has officially taken over as the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) on a five-year contract. The 56-year-old was appointed after interviews were held five weeks ago. On Monday, he succeeded Sir George Hamilton and became the PSNI's fifth chief constable at a Policing Board event in Belfast. It involved a short swearing-in ceremony in front of a justice of the peace. Simon Byrne pictured during the swearing in ceremony of the new chief constable at the NI Policing Board in Belfast with Policing Board Chair Anne Connolly and members. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press INTL 01-07-2019: PSNI chief constable: Simon Byrne begins top job. Simon Byrne has officially taken over as the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) on a five-year contract. The 56-year-old was appointed after interviews were held five weeks ago. On Monday, he succeeded Sir George Hamilton and became the PSNI's fifth chief constable at a Policing Board event in Belfast. It involved a short swearing-in ceremony in front of a justice of the peace. Simon Byrne pictured during the swearing in ceremony of the new chief constable at the NI Policing Board in Belfast with Policing Board Chair Anne Connolly,Deborah Watters (Vice Chair) and Prof David A Flynn Justice of the Peace. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Policing Board Chair, Anne Connolly formally welcomes new Chief Constable Simon Byrne to the Policing Board on his first day in office. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

The new PSNI Chief Constable has said that there is "work to do" to make the force more representative of Northern Ireland.

Mr Byrne officially took over from departing PSNI boss Sir George Hamilton on Monday.

He introduced himself to the people of Northern Ireland via a youtube video.

While the new policing boss said "proud and privileged" to be taking up the position, he acknowledged that there was a challenge to balance the workforce of the PSNI.

Before leaving the position former Chief Constable Sir George said that action must be taken to halt the falling number of Catholics joining the PSNI.

Mr Byrne said he had a number of aims in his new role.

"I'd like to say how proud and privileged I am to have been asked by the Policing Board to lead this great organisation as it continues its work to police Northern Ireland around the clock and keep you safe," the new Chief Constable said.

"My initial priorities are to get out and about across the country to hear first hand what makes the organisation tick and to see as many of our communities as possible

"Then it is to build on the work of those who have gone before me, to keep bringing down crime, see how we need to respond to new and changing types of crime as well as contributing more to the criminal justice system to make it more effective and to speed up justice for victims."

He acknowledged that there was a need to make the PSNI more representative.

"Looking ahead there is more work to do to improve how representative the organisation is of the communities we serve," Mr Byrne said.

"I want to revist our plans and ideas to make sure that the organisation reflects our communities as best as it can.

"But for now, it's about getting out from behind my desk and finding out how the PSNI ticks."

The SDLP has called for a return of 50:50 recruitment to boost the number of Catholics joining the PSNI.

When the PSNI replaced the RUC in November 2001 a policy of 50-50 recruitment of both Catholics and Protestants was introduced in an attempt to boost the number of Catholics in the force.

At the time the policy was introduced Catholics made up around 8% of the police force. The policy was discontinued in 2011.

Policing Board Chair, Anne Connolly formally welcomes new Chief Constable Simon Byrne to the Policing Board on his first day in office. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Policing Board Chair, Anne Connolly formally welcomes new Chief Constable Simon Byrne to the Policing Board on his first day in office. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

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