Belfast Telegraph

ACC Duncan McCausland

Last week one of the most senior and recognisable faces of the PSNI ended his policing career.

Former Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland retired under the Patten redundancy scheme with a pay-off of £500,000.

Mr McCausland was well-known to journalists and the public as one of the most affable, open and progressive individuals in modern-day policing. He was a dedicated advocate of community policing and, although he joined the RUC in 1983, did not seem to carry any baggage from the Troubles.

When he was in control of the PSNI Urban area, McCausland was committed to creating a visible policing presence in Belfast.

On more than one occasion I accompanied him on late-night weekend policing operations in Belfast city centre. He was not afraid to walk the streets and engage the public - even when they were the worse for drink.

He was also a stickler for detail . . . as I found to my cost during one interview.

I was the Belfast Telegraph's crime correspondent at the time and had written a story about rising crime-rates in Belfast.

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McCausland thought it did not tell the full story and asked me to meet him for an interview.

I arrived at Castlereagh anticipating a hostile reception so, by way of breaking the ice, I attempted a light-hearted anecdote.

The previous night the wing-mirror of my car had been kicked and slightly damaged, so I dropped a little challenge that the police would never catch the culprits.

McCausland did not see it as a joke. He stopped the interview and insisted I fill out a witness statement.

Despite my protestations, he was adamant: all crime must be reported.

Later that evening I was having a pint in my local when I received a call from an unknown number.

I stepped outside to answer it and found myself talking to a police officer, reassuring me that my case was being dealt with.

The following day, a Saturday, I was woken by two plain-clothes officers at my front door. They seemed almost as embarrassed as me, but had been dispatched to gather information on the 'crime'. Needless to say, no one was ever brought to justice. I would concede that not everyone receives such service when they've been the victim of a crime.

Enjoy your retirement, Duncan.


From Belfast Telegraph