28/01/2019

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton Set To Retire

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has announced his intentions to retire later this year.

Mr Hamilton has served in the force for 34 years and informed the Northern Ireland Policing Board today, 28 January, that he will retire at the end of June.

He has served in the role as Chief Constable for five years.

The PSNI boss tweeted: "I have today informed NI Policing Board of my intention to retire at the end of June. It's been a huge honour to have served the public through policing for almost 34 years & undoubtedly the greatest privilege of my career has been to serve as Chief Constable of the PSNI."

Leader of the Democratic Unionists, Arlene Foster, expressed her regret at the announcement.

"Sorry to hear that George Hamilton has decided to step down after distinguished service to the people of NI. I wish him and his family every blessing for the future," the south Tyrone MLA wrote in a post on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party, Stephen Farry MLA added: "Thanks for your service and commitment over the years to policing in NI. And best wishes for the future."

In an official statement, Mr Hamilton said: "I want to thank the Policing Board for their ongoing confidence in me and the offer of a three year extension to my contract. Having thought long and carefully, I have decided that it is the right time for both me and the PSNI that I retire from policing in June 2019.

"I have completed almost 34 years in the police service, having served in the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC, Strathclyde Police and Police Service of Northern Ireland.

"I am privileged and humbled to have led the dedicated officers and staff of the PSNI and to have worked in partnership with so many people committed to public service in Northern Ireland and beyond.
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"Our society today is a much more peaceful and progressive society than it was when I joined policing over 33 years ago. The PSNI has been part of that transformation, as it has focused on delivering Policing with the Community at the same time as modernising its service delivery.

"There is no doubt that there are challenges in the months and years ahead, but we have overcome greater challenges in the past and there is nothing that cannot be achieved if the police, our partners and the community continue to work together.

"I will continue as Chief Constable until the end of June 2019 and during that time I remain fully committed to keeping people safe and helping to build a safe, confident and peaceful society."

The Ulster Unionists have also paid tribute to Mr Hamilton on his retirement.

Alan Chambers MLA, who represents his party on the Policing Board, said: "He was dedicated to the job, always willing to engage and his door was always open. He led the PSNI through some trying circumstances, but always kept a cool head. We wish George all the best for the future."

The north Down MLA also called for "continuity" as Brexit looms.

"We need to focus on the future. At a time of immense uncertainty Northern Ireland needs stability in policing and I hope that the Policing Board will be in a position to appoint a successor as soon as possible.

"The PSNI and its officers are operating in tremendously trying fiscal circumstances and that needs addressed in the months and years ahead. There needs to be a realism about police resources which George Hamilton has repeatedly raised as society expects PSNI officers to carry the burden of providing a normal police service with the continued scourge of republican and loyalist crime gangs as well as dealing with the outworkings of Brexit."

Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Robin Swann MLA added: "I want to sincerely wish George Hamilton all the best for the future. I've always found George to be a completely honest and straight forward individual to deal with. And I always appreciated his forthrightness."



(JG/CM)

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