Northern Ireland

New PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne 'will change force'

Simon Byrne
Image caption Until last year, Simon Byrne was chief constable of Cheshire Police.

The PSNI's new Chief Constable Simon Byrne will change the force and adjust it to his own will, according to a former colleague.

Guy Hindle, who was an assistant chief constable with Cheshire Constabulary, worked with Mr Byrne.

Mr Hindle gave evidence at a disciplinary hearing into Mr Byrne last year when he faced allegations of bullying and misconduct.

Mr Byrne was exonerated and the claims were dismissed.

Speaking to BBC Northern Ireland's The View, the now retired officer said Mr Byrne was an "immensely capable individual".

"It would have been a shame for him to be lost to policing," Mr Hindle said.

Image caption Guy Hindle is a former assistant chief constable with Cheshire Constabulary

"So the fact that he's got such a demanding and hugely important job is potentially excellent for the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the communities of Ulster and I hope it goes well for him.

"I genuinely do hope it goes well for him there, I also hope that he's learnt along the way."

The former assistant chief constable added: "He will change that force. He will adjust it to his own will."

In December 2018 Mr Byrne was cleared of misconduct.

At the time he said: "I am of course very pleased to be totally exonerated of any wrong-doing. In some ways it still feels like upside down justice as I have lost my vocation after 35 years of public service.

"All the allegations against me have been rejected and I suspect that members of the public will be astonished that one of them involved me 'misapplying' my time as chief constable in responding to a 999 call from a victim of domestic violence, assisting in the search for the offender and transporting him to a custody centre."

'Flimsy allegations'

The investigation into Simon Byrne was initiated by Cheshire's Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane.

Last week he was criticised in a report by local councillors who claimed the inquiry was based on flawed and flimsy allegations.

Mr Keane said he would "consider" the findings of the report.

John Dwyer, who is a former assistant chief constable in Cheshire and later served as police and crime commissioner, said he was thrilled that Mr Byrne has been appointed by the PSNI.

"I am delighted that Simon has been able to bounce back with this significant role for the PSNI," he said.

"It is the second most important job in the United Kingdom in terms of policing and I am delighted he has been able to get that role and bounce back.

"He will produce the goods for you in Northern Ireland."

Mr Byrne, who previously served in Merseyside, Manchester and London, has 36 years policing experience.

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