The police officer who was in charge of security at last year’s G8 summit in Fermanagh has been appointed as the PSNI’s acting deputy chief constable.
Scotsman Alistair Finlay, who joined the PSNI from Strathclyde Police in 2006, has taken over from Judith Gillespie, who last year announced her retirement from the police just a month before Matt Baggott made public that he was to retire as chief constable.
The Policing Board is to appoint a chief constable first, before moving on to appoint a deputy chief constable. That means that the only PSNI officer eligible to apply to succeed Mr Baggott, assistant chief constable George Hamilton, will be able to apply for the lesser role if unsuccessful in a bid for the top post.
Justice Minister David Ford attempted to widen the pool of potential applicants for the chief constable’s post by removing the requirement for them to have served at least two years at assistant chief constable level outside Northern Ireland.
However, the DUP and Sinn Fein opposed that proposal and last month the Policing Board voted to reject Mr Ford’s idea.
A spokeswoman for the Policing Board said: “The Board was informed at the March meeting that Alistair Finlay has been appointed acting deputy chief constable. The appointment process for a new deputy chief constable is scheduled to be completed by the end of August 2014.”
Last year Mr Finlay, who has spent 30 years in the police, was praised by a judge after chasing armed robbers when he spotted them making off from a north Belfast shop.