Saturday 17 March 2018

NI police ombudsman to step down next year

Steven McCaffery

Northern Ireland's crisis-hit Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson will leave the job next year, he told a Stormont committee today.

He has been under pressure after the latest in a series of damning reports said he had lost the trust of senior colleagues and that his watchdog organisation was divided and dysfunctional.

The former Canadian police commander has faced calls for his immediate resignation, but he told the Assembly's Justice Committee he wanted to stay on until next June to implement reforms.

He said the timescale, which would see him leave earlier than his planned retirement date of December 2012, would also allow time for a replacement to be recruited.

His move comes after the hard-hitting review by the Criminal Justice Inspection group said ombudsman reports into some of the most controversial murders of the Troubles had seen criticism of the police removed.

But Mr Hutchinson said others had sought to attack him and the work of his office.

"After a decade of commitment to improvement of policing in Northern Ireland, I will not let those who want to undermine progress for their own narrow agendas to succeed in destroying this office or indeed in shaping its future to their own ends," he said.

"I have therefore advised the Minister of Justice David Ford that my last day of work will be on June 1 2012."

Press Association

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