Northern Ireland news

Outgoing Ombudsman Michael Maguire had 'difficult conversations' with George Hamilton

Former PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton
Connla Young

DR MICHAEL Maguire has told how he and former chief constable George Hamilton had some "difficult conversations" during his time in office.

Mr Hamilton recently retired as chief constable after five years in the PSNI’s top job.

In 2017 he suspended the supply of sensitive data to the ombudsman's office after the PSNI launched an investigation into the “suspected theft” of documents.

The restriction was later lifted.

Earlier this year it emerged that Dr Maguire had to postpone the publication of several reports after the PSNI failed to disclose “significant” information on police computers.

“As I said this isn't about a comfortable relationship, this is about a professional and respectful relationship,” he said.

“There have been times when George and I have had some very difficult conversations but we haven't fallen out over it.

“And that’s the way it should be.

“But the nature of the communication between the Police Ombudsman and chief constable has been hugely important for both organisations.”

Dr Maguire said that some of the issues facing both organisations have worked their way into the public domain.

“I don’t think it’s right that I go into the detail of private conversations,” he said.

“But at the same time I think both would argue and both would accept the fact that while at times they haven't been comfortable conversations none the less they have been very productive ones.

“Because they have helped both organisations get to a better place because of the levels of openness that myself and George have been able to talk to each other about.”

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