Northern Ireland

George Hamilton is new PSNI chief constable

George Hamilton is an assistant chief constable with the PSNI
Image caption George Hamilton is currently an assistant chief constable with the PSNI

The Police Service of Northern Ireland's new chief constable is to be George Hamilton.

He will succeed Matt Baggott, who announced in January that he would be retiring.

Mr Hamilton, from Bangor in County Down, is currently a PSNI assistant chief constable.

He saw off the challenge of An Garda Síochána assistant commissioner Derek Byrne and Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Cressida Dick.

Nine Policing Board members were on Thursday's interviewing panel for the £195,000 a year chief constable job.

Mr Hamilton has been a police officer since joining the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in 1985.

His appointment has been welcomed by Justice Minister David Ford

Mr Ford said: "The position of chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland is one of the most challenging policing roles on these islands.

"George will bring a wealth of leadership experience to the PSNI to shape policing in Northern Ireland over the rest of the decade."

Chair of the Policing Board Anne Connolly said the formal date of Mr Hamilton's appointment would be confirmed in the next few days.

"ACC Hamilton brings wide-ranging experience to this important job and has the necessary skills to lead the PSNI forward.

"As a board, we are looking forward to working closely with the new chief constable in dealing with the issues facing policing and agreeing a programme of work that supports community confidence in policing."

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Chief Constable Matt Baggott announced his decision to retire in January

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said: "The PSNI has a great deal to be proud of. Like all police forces it must deliver the best policing service possible at a time of unprecedented pressure on public finances.

"But the PSNI and its officers also face sensitivities, dangers and public order situations that make the challenge unique in the UK. This is a time for strong leadership and I am confident that George Hamilton will provide this."

Mr Hamilton is currently responsible for District Policing Rural, which covers an area of approximately 11,700 square kilometres of Northern Ireland and a population of approximately 900,000.

As a detective chief inspector and detective superintendent, he was involved in a number of high-profile investigations.

Mr Hamilton was chief superintendent and district commander for south and east Belfast before being appointed assistant chief constable of Strathclyde police in 2009.

He returned to the PSNI in 2011 and also served in England and Wales between 1994 and 1997.

On his return to Northern Ireland in 1997, he became involved with the Patten Commission that would eventually lead to sweeping changes to policing and the replacement of the old RUC with the PSNI four years later.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Politics and Economics and a Masters in Business Administration. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Leadership Association.

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