Friday 15 December 2017

Former RUC man takes over as PSNI chief

Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton
Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton

David Young

A Co Down-born police commander has seen off competition from senior officers in Dublin and London to be named the PSNI's new Chief Constable.

Current Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton will take over from outgoing chief Matt Baggott when he retires in September, the Northern Ireland Policing Board announced.

Mr Hamilton was vying with Garda Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne and Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick for the £195,000-a-year (€240,000) job.

The father-of-four from Bangor was the only officer in the PSNI eligible to apply for the post after the Policing Board, which is the PSNI's oversight body, opted to retain the controversial criterion which required all candidates to have served at senior command level outside Northern Ireland.

He served as assistant chief constable in Scotland from 2009 to 2011 and also worked in England for three years on a range of police training and organisational development projects. Mr Hamilton first joined the RUC in 1985 and steadily worked his way through the ranks.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics and economics and a Masters in business administration. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Leadership Association.

As assistant chief constable to Mr Baggott, he is currently responsible for rural policing in Northern Ireland.

A nine-member Policing Board appointment panel interviewed all three candidates yesterday.

The choice of Mr Hamilton was approved by Stormont Justice Minister David Ford.

The appointment of a former RUC officer with the support of Sinn Fein is politically significant. DUP First Minister Peter Robinson and Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness both welcomed the selection of Mr Hamilton.

Mr McGuinness said: "I congratulate George Hamilton and wish him every success in his efforts to ensure the fair and democratic implementation of policing."

Press Association

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