Northern Ireland news

'Desirable' criteria dropped to open up competition for PSNI chief constable post

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald made controversial remarks about the appointment of Mr Hamilton's successor

A REQUIREMENT for the PSNI’s chief constable to have served in a senior role in another force has been removed from the recruitment criteria.

The criterion of two years’ experience with a force outside Northern Ireland was downgraded from essential to desirable in 2014. 

The Policing Board has now agreed to remove it to open the position up to as wide a pool as possible.

Around 260 eligible candidates serving throughout Britain and Ireland will be personally contacted by the board and invited to apply for the £207,500-a-year post.

Chief Constable George Hamilton is due to retire in June after five years in the job. He rejected a three-year extension to his contract in January.

Temporary acting members of the PSNI’s senior command team will be eligible to apply, providing they have completed the National Strategic Command Course, as will candidates who have completed An Garda Síochána Executive Leadership Course.

In February Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said she could not identify anyone from within the PSNI’s senior command team suitable to take over from Mr Hamilton. After her remark caused controversy the board sought legal advice and changed the process to make it sufficiently robust to any potential legal challenge. 

Pertemps Professional Development, a company that specialises in senior policing appointments, will oversee the process providing independent advice and carrying out interview panel training over two days. The deadline for applications is May 7. Candidates will be shortlisted on May 14. Assessments are scheduled for May 23 and 24.

Board chair Anne Connolly said: “We are looking for a chief constable who will bring a strong vision for service delivery to the community, have a proven track record in leading change in a complex environment, have an ability to build strong relationships and be able to demonstrate delivering results through the development of operational policing plans which support building trust and confidence within the service and across the community.”

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