George Hamilton, Chief Constable, announces retirement

Chief Constable George Hamilton was appointed chief constable in June 2014. The North of Ireland’s top police officer is to retire later this year.

George Hamilton, who was appointed chief constable in June 2014, said he informed the Policing Board of his intention to leave the service in June.

A police officer for nearly 34 years, he said the greatest privilege of his career “had been to serve as chief constable”.

He said NI was a “much more peaceful and progressive society” than it was when he began his police career.

The announcement has come as a surprise to the chief constable’s senior colleagues and members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

He had been expected to accept a three-year contract extension that was offered when he met the board last week.

His decision to decline the offer followed discussions with his wife and four children over the Christmas period.

Sources say George Hamilton broke the news to his senior command team this morning and then informed the board chairman, Anne Connolly.

He told them he is retiring to spend more time with his family.

No current member of the PSNI command team can apply to succeed Mr Hamilton as chief constable.

The current eligibility criteria states that an applicant must have completed a national senior command course and served at least two years in a police force outside Northern Ireland.

After joining the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) – the predecessor of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) – in 1985, he worked in a number of roles including a stint as assistant chief constable of Strathclyde Police.

“I am privileged and humbled to have led the dedicated officers and staff of the PSNI and to have worked in partnership with so many people committed to public service in Northern Ireland and beyond,” said Mr Hamilton.

He said that there were challenges in the months and years ahead “but we have overcome greater challenges in the past and there is nothing that cannot be achieved if the police, our partners and the community continue to work together”.

Image caption
Anne Connolly says the board needs to put in place a process for the appointment of a new chief constable

Anne Connolly, chairwoman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, said the board respected Mr Hamilton’s decision not to accept a three-year contract extension last week.

She said recruitment for a new chief constable would be considered at a meeting on 6 February.

The Policing Board was established as part of policing reforms after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which helped bring about the end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

George Hamilton’s police CV
1985: Joined Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
1994: Promoted to RUC inspector and seconded to England for development programmes
1997: Returned to uniform patrol in NI and subsequently worked on Patten policing reforms
2002: Worked as a senior detective in PSNI’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID)
2007: Appointed district commander for south and east Belfast
2009: Joined Strathclyde Police as assistant chief constable
2011: Returned to NI as PSNI assistant chief constable
2014: Appointed PSNI’s fourth chief constable

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story

Coleraine pub fight: Four RUC/PSNI officers disciplined

The fight broke out in a bar in the loyalist area of Coltrane in 2015

Four RUC/PSNI officers have been disciplined for their involvement in a fight in a bar in Coleraine in 2015.

An investigating officer has also been disciplined.

The fight started in the toilets of a pub in Coleraine and continued in an alleyway outside after those involved were asked to leave.

Four members of the public were arrested at the scene after off-duty officers made 999 calls. Two others were arrested in the following weeks.

They were charged with public order offences and a file was sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

The off duty officers, who were initially treated as witnesses, were then interviewed as potential suspects after allegations were made against them.

The Northern Ireland Ombudsman found that the investigating officer failed to properly challenge the off-duty officers about inconsistencies in their accounts.

The PSNI accepted the findings of the Ombudsman.

‘Internal disciplinary process’
It was also found that the investigating officer failed to make full use of CCTV and mobile phone footage and was a month late in submitting the file, which meant the officers could not be considered for prosecution.

The investigating officer denied showing favouritism towards the off-duty officers.

After completing its enquiries, the Ombudsman’s office submitted files to the PPS. It directed that the four off-duty officers should not be prosecuted for attempting to pervert the course of justice and that neither they or the investigating officer should be prosecuted for misconduct in public office.

It also suggested that while the test for prosecution had been met in relation to the officer who improperly accessed police records, a disciplinary sanction would be more appropriate.

PSNI Chief Inspector Mark McClarence said the police and the public expect police officers to behave “professionally, ethically and with the utmost integrity at all times, whether on or off duty”.

“Where it is perceived that conduct falls short of these high standards, it is right that officers should face an impartial, thorough investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s office,” he added.

“We self-referred this incident to the Police Ombudsman’s Office for an independent review of the investigation.

“The PSNI accepted the findings of the Ombudsman in this case and implemented an internal disciplinary process which resulted in the officers receiving a misconduct outcome.”

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story

RUC/PSNI call for recruitment of at least 300 additional officers post Brexit – to police the Irish border.

Police in Northern Ireland are to ask the government to fund the recruitment of at least 300 additional officers for operations along the border after Brexit.

Chief Constable George Hamilton confirmed that a business case is currently being drawn up.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is also asking for new vehicles and other equipment.

The Police Federation has asked the government to agree to the request.

Media captionWould you notice if you crossed the Irish border?
It was revealed recently that the police force delayed the sale of its disused station in Warrenpoint as a result of uncertainty about Brexit.

BBC News NI understands the police force have also delayed plans to sell disused stations in Aughnacloy and Castlederg as they may have a future customs or security role.

The call for additional resources is backed by the association that represents rank and file PSNI officers.

Speaking to BBC News NI Mr Hamilton said the proposal was to ensure the force is “match fit” and ready for the post Brexit era.

He said the additional officers were needed to help the police support other government agencies.

Image caption
Agreement between the EU and UK was reached on a 21-month “transition” period to smooth the way to post-Brexit relations
There are more than 250 crossings along the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The UK and EU have both said they do not wish to see a hard border after Brexit, but they have not been able to agree on how to avoid checks on goods once the UK has left the customs union and single market.

If there is no Brexit deal it is likely customs officials will have to carry out the checks and it will be the job of the police to protect them.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the origional story.

More shocking revelations revealed on RUC/PSNI officers

RUC/PSNI officer had affair with associate of gang linked to Ronan Kerr’s murder

A POLICEWOMAN has been reprimanded but allowed to return to work after having an inappropriate sexual relationship with an associate of a criminal gang linked to PSNI officer Ronan Kerr’s murder.

The officer was suspended from duty some years ago after the affair emerged and the PSNI launched an investigation.

She was brought before an internal misconduct hearing last month where she was sanctioned, including having her pay docked.

However the policewoman is now free to return to operational duty.

It is understood the man whom the PSNI officer was romantically involved with is associated with members of a criminal gang linked to constable Ronan Kerr’s murder.

The 25-year-old Catholic PSNI officer was killed in April 2011 when a booby-trap bomb exploded under his car in Omagh.

No-one has ever been charged with his murder. Dissident republican paramilitaries have been blamed for the killing.

The criminal gang is suspected of involvement in the theft of cars for dissidents involved in the murder plot.

The misconduct proceedings against the policewoman were held around six weeks ago.

Read more: Analysis – Police likely to face more questions over sensitive Ronan Kerr case

The PSNI had in 2014 sent a file in relation to the case to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), but it decided not to pursue a prosecution.

A number of misconduct charges – two ‘integrity matters’ and two ‘professional duty matters’ – were upheld at the internal disciplinary.

On professional duty matters, the officer was found to have engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a person involved in and associated with criminality.

The policewoman was also reprimanded for failing to abide by property management procedures and retaining items of evidence at her home.

On integrity matters, the officer was found to have received information about persons of interest to police potentially breaching bail but failed notify colleagues. Another reprimand sanction was imposed.

The officer also breached police bail conditions placed on her, for which the hearing imposed a year-long pay reduction equating to more than £9,000.

The policewoman had initially been suspended while the PSNI carried out a criminal investigation, but she was later allowed to return to office-based work.

However, following the internal disciplinary, the PSNI has confirmed the officer has now returned to an operational role.

Police said the matter was never referred to the Police Ombudsman because it was “not the subject of a public complaint”.

The Irish News asked the PSNI why there were not more serious sanctions against the policewoman.

In a statement Chief Superintendent John McCaughan, head of PSNI’s professional standards department, said: “Following an investigation into the actions of a police officer by the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s professional standards department a file was prepared and sent to the Public Prosecution Service.

“They directed no prosecution in relation to all matters reported to them.

“The matter was not the subject of a public complaint, thus it was not referred to the Police Ombudsman.

“Following that, an officer appeared before misconduct proceedings in February 2018 to answer a number of charges.

“The charges were proven and the officer received a number of disciplinary sanctions as a result.

“As the misconduct proceedings have now finalised, the officer has returned to an operational role.

“The duty status of the officer was kept under review throughout the process.

“Decisions as to whether or not an officer required to be suspended from duty were guided by the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2000 in this particular case.

“This places an obligation upon the service to keep the duty status of an officer under continual review, to ensure that any decision is lawful, necessary and proportionate.

“An officer was initially suspended at the commencement of the investigation, and later returned to a non-public facing, outside the evidential chain until the misconduct proceedings finished.”

A PPS spokeswoman said: “The PPS received a file from the PSNI in February 2014 concerning a number of allegations against a serving police officer, including misconduct in public office and attempting to do an act with intent to pervert the course of justice.

“After careful consideration of all the available evidence in this case, it was concluded in September 2014 that the test for prosecution was not met on the grounds of insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction.”

With many thanks to: Brendan Hughes and The Irish News for the origional story.

RUC/PSNI gives contract to company ‘Capita’ criticised over PIP assessments

PSNI refuse to reveal how much Capita contract is worth

Capita are to provide control room services for the PSNI

CONTROVERSIAL public sector contractor Capita (formily known as Atos) has been awarded a contract to provide command and control systems to the PSNI.

However, neither the PSNI nor Capita would reveal how much public money the contract was worth.

The company announced yesterday it had been awarded a contract to deliver its command and control system for contact centre and control room operations across the PSNI’s three regional contact management centres.

The contract is for an initial seven-year term with incremental options to extend it to 17 years.

The company said its ControlWorks system will help deliver “operational benefits”, including the ability to assess and prioritise demand and risk at each point of contact with the public and enable the PSNI to “manage all its operations from a single viewpoint”.

Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris welcomed the move saying “technology plays a part in everything we do as a police service”.

“It is vital that we invest in future-proof solutions that enable us to provide effective and efficient services 24 hours a day in Northern Ireland.

“Capita’s ControlWorks solution will help us to do exactly that, supporting the way we respond to our communities’ needs and adapting to new and evolving policing challenges as they present themselves”, he added.

George Greig, Director, Capita Secure Solutions and Services, said: “It was clear from the start of our collaboration with PSNI that they understood the importance of having innovative solutions in place to help coordinate resources, make highly-informed decisions and rapidly communicate these to police officers and the public.”

In October last year the outsourcing group announced the appointment of a new chief executive Jon Lewis to help turn around the fortunes of the company.

The new boss slashed profit forecasts and set out plans to raise cash to avoid the same fate as collapsed rival Carillion resulting in 40 per cent being wiped off the company’s market value.

Carillion collapsed under a pile of debt earlier this year.

Capita, which provides IT services to companies and governments, said afterwards it needed a complete overhaul and to ‘retrench’.

In January the information commissioner ordered the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in Britain to release a report into Capita and Atos.

The two outsourcing companies are paid hundreds of millions of pounds to carry out personal independence payment (PIP) assessments,

In April last year Channel 4’s Dispatches programme went undercover in Capita. An investigator posed as a trainee disability assessor to see how the PIP assessments were conducted leading to widespread criticism of the company’s practices.

When asked yesterday a spokesperson for Capita said they could not comment on how much the contract was worth.

The PSNI also would not comment on the value of the contract when asked.

With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News for the origional story.

Policing Board must maintain authority

THE GUARDS have got themselves into a right mess. A controversy a day has resulted in the loss of two chief of police within a short time. The amount of commentary and advice coming from all quarters has ensured that there is probably less public clarity now than there ever was. As one of the advice givers, I need to confess to some niggling guilt.

I get asked to comment on the affairs of An Garda Síochána because I was on the first Policing Board for the PSNI. I have written a few articles and done some media about what should happen to the Guards and I think that my views are straightforward. To bring change and efficiency to as big and as powerful an organization as An Garda Síochána, it needs to be clear in law and in the public understanding as to who is responsible for what. That there should be clear operational responsibility and clear policy responsibility. That a strong oversight body (with political represention) is best placed to oversee the necessary change and bring about as much transparency and accountability as possible.

It was the same argument and recommendation as in the Patten Report that established the PSNI and the Policing Board here. The niggle is that every time I made the argument the question popped up in my head as to how well (or badly) the Policing Board here is doing. I am always slow to comment on something of which I was a part but it was so long ago (ten years) that I am long relegated to another Joe Soap who has no inside information but has a continuing interest in the subject. The niggle was that I was out arguing its role and merits and all the time there is a voice in the back of my head saying that I am far from sure how the Policing Board here is doing. 

When, out of interest, I make the odd inquiry from other Joe Soaps as to who is on the board and what it does, there is an increasing number of vacant stares and shoulders. 

Then I open this newspaper during the week to learn that the board is in limbo and can’t reappoint its human rights lawyer. It is reported as another example of the result of the present political impasse up at Stormont. But the truth is that the board has been in limbo long before the impasse. When, out of interest, I make the odd inquiry from other Joe Soaps as to who is on the board and what it does, there is an increasing number of vacant stares and shrugs of shoulders. It doesn’t appear to have a presence. I seldom hear of it except as an aside to something happening in the polcing world. I know it publishes annual reports. I know it sets targets and reports on the achievements and failures of the police and I presume that if I took the bother to go looking I would find such reports. But being Joe Soap, I am sometimes too lazy and sometimes too busy to be going looking. I would appreciate some of it in my face.

The board has many responsibilities, the primary one to hold the chief constable (the police) to account for their performance. It does that job on behalf of the public and so it is important that it keeps the public informed and interested. I don’t expect it and I don’t want it to be in the news every day but policing is never a completed, done job. There are so many issues that need ongoing analysis, debate, scrutiny; issues such as drugs, paramilitaries, domestic violence, community policing, to name just a few. And then, of course, is the question of the quality of the service that is being delivered, something that needs constant monitoring. I hear the police view on many matters but I can’t remember the last time I heard the board’s view. I there is a public meeting every month or so, but that is the board asking asking questions of the police – it is not the view of the board. I don’t know who the spokesperson is. I know how difficult or impossible it is to get a consensus view on anything and the present political impasse makes it even more difficult. But all the more reason for a strong, authoritative, challenging voice that gives the public some sense of comfort and security. I think the Policing Board had established that authority and had been given a lot of trust from the public. That trust is easily lost and extremely difficult to reestablish.

With many thanks to: Denis Bradley and The Irish News. 

More Harassment Tonight from the Armed British Scum in the RUC/PSNI.

More RUC/PSNI Harassment Please report to a solicitor of localy “DON’T STAY SILENT!”

More harassment tonight from the armed british thugs in the psni ruc!!

Up to a dozen of these men where involved in  what can only be described as a clear case of harassment and intimidation of republicans on the streets of lurgan yet again!!

Your actions wont deter us!! In fact they will make us more resilliant againt all your attempts to intimidate us!!

“They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn’t want to be broken”

With many thanks to: Christopher Hamill.