Simon Byrne starts today as PSNI Chief Constable

Chief Constable Simon Byrne takes up his position today, Monday 1 July  as the new Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. 'Photo Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
Chief Constable Simon Byrne takes up his position today, Monday 1 July as the new Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. 'Photo Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
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Simon Byrne takes up his new £207,000-a-year position as the PSNI’s new chief constable today, in succession to George Hamilton. The 56-year-old has spent 36 years in policing, spending most of his career in Merseyside before working in the Metropolitan Police and in Greater Manchester Police, and he became chief constable of Cheshire in 2014. He beat off competition from three other candidates to take the PSNI post. His appointment was welcomed by all political parties here.

He arrives on a five-year contract.

He was appointed after interviews were held five weeks ago and will formally succeed Sir George Hamilton and become the PSNI’s fifth chief constable at a Policing Board event in Belfast at about 1:00.

It involves a short swearing-in ceremony in front of a justice of the peace, the BBC reported.

Mr Byrne is arriving at a crucial time for the PSNI on several fronts.

One of his first calls will be whether to contest a court defeat over back pay involving 3,700 staff, which could cost the organisation £40m.

His last contract, as chief constable of Cheshire Police, ended in June 2018 while he was fighting a disciplinary case involving complaints of bullying staff.

He was exonerated and a review found the investigation was “flawed” and based on “flimsy” allegations.

Mr Byrne had the most experience of the four applicants for the £207,000-a-year job, having held high ranks in the Metropolitan, Merseyside and Manchester police forces.

The BBC reported that temporary accommodation arrangements have been made for him and that it is not a contractual requirement that the chief constable assumes full-time residency in Northern Ireland.