PFNI Chair calls for overhaul into senior officer investigations

PFNI Chair calls for overhaul into senior officer investigations

2 months ago Members News

PFNI Chair calls for overhaul  into senior officer investigations

The Chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Liam Kelly, has called for a thorough examination of the processes and system that allowed the Policing Board to recommend approving the secondment of Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton.

Mr Kelly said the decision of the Northern Ireland Policing Board to recommend the secondment reinforces the view amongst rank-and-file officers that senior officers are treated totally differently from their junior colleagues.

Mr Kelly said: “The officers I represent are incensed over this decision. Following a successful Judicial Review, the Federation unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in DCC Hamilton and the former Chief Constable over their handling of disciplinary issues around the Ormeau Road incident in 2021.

“In August 2023 a Judge found against them and determined their actions to have been unlawful. Mr Byrne ultimately resigned and the newly appointed Chief Constable publicly apologised to the junior officers involved.

“However, there has been no follow up investigation instigated whatsoever into what actually occurred and, therefore, no accountability for any of the decisions and punitive actions taken by both senior officers against their junior colleagues. The processes and system that seemingly allow such a two-tier approach to disciplinary matters must be challenged and ultimately overhauled. It has and continues to fail our rank-and-file officers who, it appears, are held to more stringent oversight and a much higher standard than their senior colleagues.

“If this recommendation is ratified by the Justice Minister, my members will be expecting a full explanation for this decision. 

“The secondment request to the Northern Ireland Policing Board was belatedly made by the Chief Constable after both the Board and the Police Ombudsman’s Office clarified, following legal advice they had received, that there would be no criminal or misconduct investigation into the matter.

“I have explained to Mr Boutcher the internal damage to rebuilding trust and confidence between the ranks that news of this secondment will cause. We have had members suspended and repositioned for years for matters that are seemingly not as serious or damaging to public confidence as this. There simply cannot be one rule for those at senior levels in the PSNI and another for the men and women I represent.”

Trending Articles