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Simon Byrne named new PSNI chief

'The board had absolutely no problem in appointing him'.

New PSNI Chief Simon Byrne

New PSNI Chief Simon Byrne

Date - 24th May 2019
By - Martin Buhagiar - Police Oracle
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Simon Byrne, who was last year cleared of bullying claims and also faced allegations that he humiliated staff on a "regular basis", has been named the new Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The decision was made by a panel of seven policing board members with Bedfordshire Chief Jon Boutcher, PSNI Deputy Chief Stephen Martin and ACC Mark Hamilton overlooked.

CC Byrne will take up his new £207,000-a-year position when current Chief George Hamilton retires next month.

It is certainly a controversial decision following CC Byrne's recent misconduct hearing.

Ann Connolly, chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, said CC Byrne had told the board he had faced "unfounded allegations".

She said: "He has been totally exonerated and the last time I looked that meant the person was innocent. The board had absolutely no problem in appointing him."

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) welcomed the appointment with Chairman Mark Lindsay saying the new chief will immediately face a series of significant challenges including legacy, how the organisation is resourced and the ongoing ‘severe’ threat that is posed by dissident republicans.

He said: “The PFNI welcomes this appointment. Mr Byrne will have to be across the range of issues that will fill his in-tray from day one. He has considerable operational experience and I wish him well in this new and very demanding role.

“I can assure him of the support and goodwill of this organisation in working collaboratively with him for the welfare and in the best interests of our men and women who deliver professional and courageous policing day and daily to all the people of Northern Ireland.

“I also wish to extend best wishes to Chief Constable George Hamilton and wish him well in his retirement.”            

CC Byrne’s tenure at the helm of Cheshire Constabulary came to a controversial end – his contract expiring during misconduct proceedings.

He was accused of being a Jekyll and Hyde character but was totally exonerated by an independent disciplinary panel.

The evidence of nine officers and staff who testified against the ex Cheshire Constabulary chief was dismissed as “over sensitive” by a misconduct panel, which found no evidence of gross misconduct or misconduct.

The panel’s report praised his reputation as a “reformer and driver of high standards…energetic and challenging leadership style” but gave witnesses short shrift as exaggerators and low performers.

A spokeswoman for Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane told Police Oracle the costs of Mr Byrne’s misconduct hearing were estimated to be around £350,000 plus £100,000 for his suspension.

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