Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland’s top police officer to retire months after Brexit

Chief Constable George Hamilton announced the move on social media, after rejecting a three-year extension to his contract last week.

Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland George Hamilton (PA)
Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland George Hamilton (PA)

Northern Ireland’s top police officer has announced he will retire in June after five years in the job.

Chief Constable George Hamilton announced the move on social media, after rejecting a three-year extension to his contract last week, and said he had informed the Northern Ireland Policing Board of his intentions.

The tweet read: “I have today informed @NIPolicingBoard of my intention to retire at the end of June. It’s been a huge honour to have served the public through policing for almost 34 years & undoubtedly the greatest privilege of my career has been to serve as Chief Constable of @PoliceServiceNI”

Mr Hamilton said in a statement: “Our society today is a much more peaceful and progressive society than it was when I joined policing over 33 years ago.

“The PSNI has been part of that transformation.

“It has been a huge honour to have served the public through policing and without doubt, the greatest privilege of my career has been to serve as Chief Constable of the PSNI for the last five years.”

Mr Hamilton will retire around three months after Brexit is to be implemented, a time which Mr Hamilton himself says will impact heavily on PSNI operations.

The Chief Constable previously told a government committee he felt “in the dark” as he attempted to prepare his service for the UK leaving the EU.

He also accused the British government of failing to understand the impact of Brexit and the dangers of terrorism in the region.

Mr Hamilton warned that government officials have failed to prepare for the impact of Britain leaving the European Union on issues surrounding peace and security.

He said that he has made a number of “urgent pleas” for resources, but he was not getting the information or clarity from Westminster.

The Chair of Policing Board, Anne Connolly, expressed her regret at the retirement of the Chief Constable.

“It is with regret that the Chief Constable has today informed me of his intention to resign at the end of June 2019,” she said.

“The Policing Board last week offered the Chief Constable a three-year extension to his contract which he has decided not to take up, and the Board respects that decision.

“The Board now needs to put in place a process for the appointment of a Chief Constable and will consider this at its Board meeting on 6th February.”

Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Robin Swann MLA said: “I want to sincerely wish George Hamilton all the best for the future.

“I’ve always found George to be a completely honest and straight forward individual to deal with.

“And I always appreciated his forthrightness.”

The 51-year-old from Co Down began his career in 1985 when he joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), he went on to spend three years in England working on a range of training and organisational development projects.

In 2009 he was appointed assistant chief constable in Strathclyde Police in Glasgow, with responsibility for serious and organised crime, public protection and counter-terrorism investigations.

He was selected to succeed Matt Baggott as the Chief Constable of the PSNI in May 2014, and took up the post in June that year.

He received the Queen’s Police Medal in the 2015 Birthday Honours List.

Press Association

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