DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson stops short of calling on PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne to resign

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said that the PSNI chief constable “needs to reflect” on a loss of confidence by unionists in policing.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 6:04 pm
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson pictured with Democratic Unionist Party deputy leader Paula Bradley and Gregory Campbell after his meeting with the PSNI's Chief Constable Simon Byrne at Police Headquarters in Belfast. (Photo: Arthur Allison /Pacemaker)

The DUP leader spoke to the media following a meeting with Simon Byrne after the publication of a controversial review into policing in south Armagh.

Sir Jeffrey said: “We made clear to the chief constable that we do not have confidence in the decisions that have been made by the senior management team of the police and that that loss of confidence is reflected across the unionist community in particular, but not exclusively the unionist community.

“That that is something that cannot persist, it’s not sustainable, you cannot go forward on the basis of such a loss of confidence in the senior leadership of the PSNI.

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PSNI Chief Constable, Simon Byrne.

“I think the chief constable and the senior management team now urgently needs to reflect on the loss of confidence in the community and how they have taken key decisions in regard to policing, not least in respect of the report published this week, because we can’t go on with the way things are.”

The DUP leader said he told chief constable Byrne that there has been a “drastic loss of confidence” in policing in Northern Ireland.

“This is the latest in a series of events and incidents that have occurred that, in our view, have seriously undermined confidence, mainly in the unionist community it has to be said. That is not a sustainable position.

“We support policing and the rule of law, but we are deeply concerned by the loss of confidence in policing in the communities that we represent.

“We’ve made that clear to the chief constable we can’t continue like this. We can’t continue in a situation where every other week we’re facing yet another crisis, another debacle which eats away, undermines the confidence of people, ordinary people, law-abiding people, in the way that Northern Ireland is policed. That’s a situation that cannot pertain.

“We believe that there are elements of this report that are simply unacceptable. We’ve asked the chief constable to clarify, urgently, what the status of this report is and how it is going to be taken forward.”

Sir Jeffrey did not call on Mr Byrne to resign but added: “In our opinion, there is a drastic loss of confidence in policing, in the fairness and impartiality of policing. That needs urgently to be addressed.

“It needs to be addressed by the chief constable and he needs to consider urgently what that means for him and his senior management team on how they respond to that.”