PSNI chief rules himself out of MPS commissioner job

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable Simon Byrne has ruled himself out of the running for the job of Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) commissioner.

May 5, 2022
By Website Editor
Chief Constable Simon Byrne

In a statement, Mr Byrne said he had not applied for the post and was committed to policing in Northern Ireland.

Mr Byrne, 59, a former assistant commissioner for territorial policing at the MPS, had been previously linked with the most senior policing job in the UK after the resignation of Dame Cressida Dick in February.

Applications for the position closed this week.

Mr Byrne said he intends to fulfil his PSNI contract which began in June 2019. “I am committed to seeing my contract through and gave an undertaking to serve five years as Chief Constable in Northern Ireland. That remains the case. I am enormously privileged to lead such a magnificent organisation.

“I want to build on my promise to deliver neighbourhood policing, to provide a visible, accessible, responsive and community-based approach to tackling the issues that matter to our local communities. I have a job to do and remain focused to deliver world-class policing to the people of Northern Ireland.”

Mr Byrne has faced a number of controversies during his time in Northern Ireland and has faced calls to resign from unionist politicians.

Last year he faced a backlash from unionists after he published a review of policing operations in south Armagh.

His report contained 50 recommendations, including closing down the heavily fortified Crossmaglen police station, closer working relations with An Garda Síochána and exploring the relocation of memorials to fallen officers.

Mr Byrne committed to listening to unionist concerns and “rebuilding confidence” after the row.

In 2020 he was criticised by some politicians for the policing operation at the funeral of senior republican Bobby Storey, where huge numbers lined the streets during a period of strict Covid-19 regulations. However, a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary into how police handled the funeral found no evidence of bias by police.

Earlier this week another potential candidate, Dame Lynne Owens, former Director General of the National Crime Agency, also made it be known that she would not be applying for the MPS job.

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