Northern Ireland news

New PSNI chief constable set to be announced

(Left to right) Jon Boutcher, Stephen Martin, and Mark Hamilton are reported to be among candidates for the chief constable role 

AN announcement on who will replace George Hamilton as chief constable of the PSNI is expected to be made within hours of the conclusion of interviews today.

Four people have been shortlisted for the £207,000-a-year job, with Mr Hamilton due to retire in June.

Current acting PSNI deputy chief constable Steve Martin and assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton are the two internal candidates.

Also shortlisted are Bedfordshire chief constable Jon Boutcher, currently heading up the Operation Kenova investigation into the agent known as Stakeknife, and the former head of Cheshire Police, Simon Byrne.

Mr Hamilton's successor is being chosen by a panel of seven Policing Board members, but only four of the five main parties are represented.

The SDLP's Dolores Kelly withdrew for personal reasons.

A Policing Board spokesperson said: "The withdrawal has no impact as the panel remains representative.

"It will now comprise the following members: Anne Connolly, John Blair, Alan Chambers, Linda Dillon, Colm McKenna, Wendy Osborne and Mervyn Storey."

The heavily scrutinised interview process is taking place over two days and a special meeting of the board has been called for 5pm today, with the successful candidate to be announced after Secretary of State Karen Bradley approves the appointment.

This would usually be a role played by a Stormont justice minister.

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