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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Rebecca Black

Two shortlisted in process to appoint new PSNI chief constable

PA Archive

Two men have been shortlisted in the process to appoint Northern Ireland’s next chief constable.

It is understood that the current interim chief, and former police chief of Bedfordshire, Jon Boutcher and Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton are the final two candidates in the process.

Former Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) chief constable Simon Byrne resigned in August following a string of controversies.

These include a significant data breach in which the personal details of all officers and staff were mistakenly published online and a critical High Court ruling which said that two junior officers had been unlawfully disciplined.

Applications for the chief constable role closed on Monday. The Northern Ireland Policing Board is expected to interview the final two candidates in November.

Mr Boutcher previously applied to become PSNI chief constable in 2019, but lost out to Mr Byrne.

He was until recently leading Operation Kenova, which has been investigating the activities of Stakeknife, the Army’s top agent in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

Mr Singleton has previously held high-profile roles within the PSNI, including leading the Paramilitary Crime Task Force before going on to head up the Legacy Investigation Branch.

Northern Ireland’s new police chief will take home of a salary of £220,000.

But they will face a number of challenges, including dealing with a budget crisis, as well as the consequences of the major data breach.

Senior officers have estimated that security and legal costs from the breach could potentially cost the force £240 million.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court issued a ruling on a long-running legal claim over holiday pay, which could see the force having to make back payments of tens of millions of pounds.

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