Ford seeks PSNI chief criteria changes

Ford seeks PSNI chief criteria changes

The First and deputy First Ministers have instructed Justice Minister David Ford to bring his proposed changes to the criteria for appointing the new PSNI Chief Constable before the Executive for consideration.

It comes after the Alliance MLA announced he had removed the need for applicants to the position of Chief Constable to have served at Assistant Chief Constable rank for a minimum of two years in policing outside of Northern Ireland.Instead the Minister changed the criteria to 'desirable' and introduced the mandatory requirement that the successful candidate should have successfully completed the Strategic Command Course (or an equivalent).Following the announcement, First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said in a statement they had determined it was a "significant matter" under the terms of the ministerial code.The changes mean a local police officer could get the top PSNI role.Last week, outgoing Chief Constable Matt Baggott announced he would not be renewing his contract which expires in September. Mr Baggott, 55, spent the first 20 years of his service in the Metropolitan Police and took up the head role within the PSNI in 2009.Earlier Mr Ford said that, following changes to appointment procedures elsewhere in policing, "I considered it important to ensure the criteria allows for as wide a pool of candidates as possible"."It is however for the Policing Board to consider the experiences of those involved and whether they consider applicants to be suitably qualified."It is important to note that, in setting some minimum standards, I am not prohibiting the Board from adding to these minimum criteria as they consider the skills, experience and competencies required of a new Chief Constable," he added.


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