Orde quits PSNI to head Police Association

I thought someone else would have picked this up by now

    Northern Ireland’s Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde is to leave his post and become president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo).

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Any thoughts, reflections or predictions welcome.

  • Driftwood

    Hard to find fault with a clear speaking, excellent leader. Surprised he didn’t get the Mat job. I believe he still will in a few years.
    His handling of the politics here was exemplary.

  • Rory Carr

    “…no part of our society is deprived of the services of the PSNI.” – Dolores Kelly, SDLP Policing Board Member.

    If the many constant complaints wich I read on Slugger and elsewhere concerning the perceived failure of the police to act in any effective way in deterring criminal behaviour or in arresting the criminals is any guide, then I am confident that Ms Kelly’s words will come back to haunt her. Which may not be absolutely fair as she is only parrotting what all other elected officials would also feel obliged to say.

    We know that she means that the PSNI is now an acceptable force in nationalist areas in a way that the RUC was not but the problem today, and Sir Hugh’s failure, is not one of PSNI presence in nationalist areas it is one of the PSNI’s absence in those areas, whether unionist or nationalist, where there presence is needed to tackle crime.

    So, OK, Sir Hugh, you have delivered a reasonably integrated police service capable of finding itself acceptable across the board, thank you very much and best wishes in your new post. Now can we hope that the new guy or gal in the top-cop spot can do something about putting this service to work?

  • blinding

    I hope that senior Garda apply for the replacement position.

    It would be a great sign that the PSNI had moved on from the past if a senior Garda with the required qualifications was chosen to do this very difficult job.

  • alan56

    Just heard comment from Lord Maginnis.

    “Frankly it was more than time for a change. Policing is not exclusively about ‘spin doctoring’ and force-wise there has been little, if any, constructive planning for the future. The same could be said of the need for change in the Police Board.”

    Obviously not great buddies!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The boy HughBert has done good – an Englishman with the required skill and no baggage, he prepared the way for SF, in conjunction with the British government in its commitment to transferring Police and Justice, to seal the peace and cement Nationalist support for the police.

    We now are ready for an Irishman to take the job and hopefully one from the south where ever-closer cooperation between the 2 forces should be reinforced with joint patrolling, particularly in border areas (as per the Quinn investigation) to eliminate the residual dissident threat.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Agreed with the posts above, Orde has left the PSNI in a better state than he found it, and I’ve always enjoyed his straight talking, direct style.

    There’s an anecdote I heard a few years ago from someone who was travelling along a country road behind a couple of police cars. An accident up ahead occurred, and the police stopped. Out of one of the cars stepped Hugh Orde, who immediately went out to the road and began directing oncoming traffic around the accident. It’s nice to see someone at the top not seeing the little jobs as being too far beneath him.

  • alan56

    Wonder if he has been forgiven for bringing in ‘special forces’ back-up?

  • Mark McGregor

    . Recalling British Army Special Forces
    . Having to apologise for the manner of the raid on SF’s Stormont offices
    . Bugging solicitor client meetings
    . Preciding over the failings during the Hoey trial
    . Arresting journalists Liam Clarke and Kathryn Johnston
    . Introdcing Tasars
    . Refusal to phase out f/t Reserve

    That’s just off the top of my head

  • percy

    Hope so Sammy, parachuting in an ex-army police chief from England would be an absolute disaster.

  • Driftwood

    Given the present difficulties facing the Met (G20 fallout etc)any CC is going to have a difficult time. As for the recon role of Army Special Forces, aren’t they a matter for Brigadier George Norton?

  • fin

    Fully agree with Mark and Sammy, he did do alot I disagreed with, however, hard to know if someone else at the time would have been better, or for that matter in the future, it would be good to see a Garda in the role, however, cops are cops and should be approached with caution at al times.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mark McGregor,

    probably best to compare him to what went before and accept that there were some political realities – however unpalatable – within which that he had to operate.

    A good-egg.

  • Brian Walker

    Orde will leave a vacuum at a very bad time. Yet again, careerism and the (admittedly very difficult) GB agenda take priority over the needs of NI. The absence of an internal candidate is a serious succession planning error by the huge police oversight establishment. They must be asleep on the job. Order’s departures has been likely for the past couple of years, ever since he made a bit of a performance of agreeing to stay on after his first five years. That was his slow notice to quit. Police retirement seems contractually almost automatic now, so I assume Leighton can’t stay on as a two- or three- year stop gap. The challenge of making the PSNI effective in Catholic areas for the first time is obviously greater than ever, due to the upsurge of the dissident threat. No handy kit exists in GB to deal with it, especially at the same time as the police there are in the throes of one of their regular crises of accountability and several of the top jobs in the Met are held on an acting basis, as a result of the long crisis that was Ian Blair’s time as Commissioner. So bad news for NI, I’d say. I hope I’m proved wrong.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    “The absence of an internal candidate is a serious succession planning error by the huge police oversight establishment.”

    If they intend to get in someone in from the ROI then this is probably a good planning move – a strong internal candidate would be difficult to overlook.

  • John East Belfast

    I could never get over his attendance at David Ervine’s funeral which defined Orde for me

    David Ervine undoubtedly did a lot to achieve the loyalist ceasefires but he never said loyalist criminality had been just downright wrong and faced with the same set of circumstances it shouldnt happen again.

    Paying respect at the funeral of the political leadership of the UVF was no place for the Chief Constable

  • fin

    I do wonder why now? and if choosing a successor will get caught up in electioneering and if there is any connection with P&J been devolved

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    I doubt he would have been allowed to go unless there was someone lined up.

    John East Belfast

    “Paying respect at the funeral of the political leadership of the UVF was no place for the Chief Constable”

    That was one of the main purposes of the GFA – with the British were happy for SF to run police and justice so they have to at least have a show of even-handedness.

  • fin

    Yes Sammy, but who, and who’s done the lining up. Also its a toughie to get someone acceptable to the DUP and SF, I think the govt (and DUP)are panicking a bit on SF taking a kicking in republican circles, obviously a little kick will keep potential SF voters at home to send SF amessage, which would dig the DUP out of the hole with losing votes to the TUV, but too much would empower the ‘mico organisations’ a SF friendly appointment would give votes to the TUV and show the same ‘micro organisations’ that SF were achieving change. I’m guessing it needs to be at least rubberstamped by the policing board which is DUP led. Could there be a trade of in P&J, giving the Chief Cons job to a unionist favoured candidate, selected by the DUP shows they’re in charge, and giving P&J to the SDLP (where it can be argued its their’s thro d’hont, and therefore the UUPs fault) gives nationalists a felgood factor without opening assisting SF.

    Dreaming, but DUP candidate for Cop job before election and P&J for SDLP after the election

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    you might be right – but I suspect that next appointment will be a more strategic one.

    The problem with getting one of your own guys in is that they are always greeted with a chorus of disapproval from the other side and the incumbent then tends to try and prove his lack of bias by leaning the other way.

    For political reasons, I would like a Southerner, but for the reasons given above perhaps it wont make that much difference because to get the job they will have to very, very politically astute and able to deal competently with the aftermath of the transfer of police and justice.

  • alan56

    Anyone got a clue if there are any southerners who would be candidates? any names?

  • fin

    Although I think there are a number of roles now open at the top so possibly a bit of horse trading to divvy them up in an acceptable manner, the current top Garda Fachtna Murphy hasn’t been in the job for very long but he has also trained in the UK.

    Roy Keane is looking for a new job!

  • Driftwood

    Judith Gillespie is a cert.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think it might be too politically explosive to have an ex-Garda as Chief Constable, although I would have nothing against it and I can see the benefits in that it would be one less plank for the dissidents to rest on. I wonder if it might be more realistic, though, to second someone from the Garda as an assistant Chief Constable, to get people used to the idea.

    fin, I thought we had sorted this all out. The Stoops are not going to get the justice ministry for at least another four years. It’s Sinn Fein’s fault.

    John, the reality of politics here is that the paramilitaries are heavily ensconced in our communities. That isn’t Hugh Orde’s fault; and I expect it was appropriate for him to pay respects to a man who, despite never condemning or disowning his past, was arguing for a path other than violence.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    I know it is not really a good basis for giving someone the job but Fachtna is such a good name it must be a distinct advantage and if the job was to be given to someone else from the south on the basis of a quare name ( although he has no police training) then the boy Bat O’Keefe (Minister for Ede-me-cation) should also be a contender.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Comrade Stalin

    ” It’s Sinn Fein’s fault” – if you were ever looking to change your moniker then presumably that would near the top of your list.

  • fin

    CS, like your thinking on the first paragraph,

    re the second paragraph it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

    Driftwood, Judith Gillespie is hot, but I can’t see her getting the job.

  • fin

    My thoughts exactly Sammy re both posts, regarding getting the job on the strenght of your name could unionists handle a Finbarr or Fionula

  • pól

    Driftwood: “Judith Gillespie is a cert.”

    I really don’t think so. There is a case in progress at the minute against the PSNI regarding the wrongful sacking of an Officer in Derry on unfounded drugs allegations. Judith Gillespie has made a series of serious fuck-ups on that one, and the PSNI stand to lose quite a bit of money over the matter.

    I can’t really say any more at the moment, as the Officer’s family don’t want the publicity. Suffice to say that the officer has been reinstated after Judicial Review, and apparently is considering further action.

  • Mirko

    Judith Gillespie cannot get it – a candidate has to have been a deputy chief constable for two years and she’s the rank below, Assistant Chief Constable.

  • UHU

    We need an American to lead the PSNI.

  • kensei

    We need an American to lead the PSNI.

    Yes, a rough though cop that doesn’t play by the rules, but can get results…….. there can only be one man for the job:


  • UHU

    We also need American press, who will help him stem the surge of terror.

  • latcheeco

    I don’t think the Sinners will take too big a hit. The election will be an Us vs Them horserace more than ever. Policies will have little to do with it. Reservations about strategy will be put aside to beat themmuns. But that won’t stop anyone using the result to vindicate themselves and the pracess. Which is weirdly ironic.

    Orde’s record is hard to judge because his environment was too different from that of his predecessors.We don’t know how he would have reacted in different circumstances. Doesn’t seem like his plods could catch a cold though.

  • Scaramoosh

    The next Chief Constable will be woman.

  • joeCanuck

    Orde did a difficult job very well overall.
    7 years is long enough for a high calibre professional to stay in one job. He deserves a new challenge and I wish him well, for whatever that’s worth (ok, worth nothing).

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit
  • latcheeco

    “We need an American to lead the PSNI”
    Ffs! A certain Georgian socialist just spat his tea all over himself.

  • The Raven

    “We need an American to lead the PSNI.”

    There are some *excellent* candidates out there….maybe someone a little tougher on crime and the causes of crime like this chap or indeed someone a little older like him

    It all depends what direction you want to move in.

  • Driftwood

    We need to dispense with the Nuala oLoan crap and bring in an experienced guy from this unit:


    Our crime figures would soon recede methinks.

    We can go back to Dixon of Dock Green in 2013.

  • Dave

    “re the second paragraph it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.”

    She’s squealing like a kicked pig but you still can’t hear her.

  • Driftwood

    Should have added that a BOPE type force would be excellent in Kilwilkie and other favelas. Cheaper than Hydebank.

  • fin

    great idea driftwood, if they move quickly the force could be deployed for the marching season, guess their would be no more accidental breaches of Parade Commission rulings, unionist weapons would get decommissioned fairly quickly, and chinese and polish people could live in peace.

    Of course there’d be no need for 50/50 recruitment anymore as they’re all catholic, and an ex-colony so should be very understanding towards nationalists,

  • Paul McMahon

    A rough tough cop that doesn’t play by the rules? This guy’s yer only man.


    Now that would ruffle a few feathers.

  • Driftwood

    guess their would be ….there?

    Grammar fin, Grammar.

    It should apply to all, regardless of religion (or none in my case). My guess is that decent middle class people of all persuasions would not be too objective to a force like this operating in all the favelas here. Cost/Benefit analysis with keeping them cosy in our luxury prisons.

    As for 50/50, we just make sure they’re all atheist, so no complaints.

    BTW I’m serious.

  • Driftwood

    also fin
    How many victims of crime in areas like West Belfast would really object to such a force, providing it was non sectarian, just dealt with hoods. my guess is very few. And the middle classes need to be protected from scumbags, whatever their religious/political background.

    Don’t see any of Rio’s middle classes complaining about BOPE tactics.


    Given what had gone before for decades Orde was one hell of a whirlwind. He seemed to be a fairly decent genuine man but stand offish sometimes, a bit cold and robotic but maybe that comes with the ‘professional’ territory. I don’t think he realised that the image of the PSNI in working class Republican and Loyalist areas was that of a force that didn’t really care about the crime that was tearing their communities apart. The perception was that the scumbags were getting away with it and laughing at policing and justice. There is NO doubt that some people have gone to paramilitaries demanding action on criminality and that certain groups have taken solace and strength from this; that is why we are seeing their growth. I would have to say that this is probably the biggest mistake that Orde & the PSNI made; NOT seriously tackling anti social behaviour and criminality. The vast majority of people in both communites are essentially decent hard workers who just want to get on with life and hate the criminal thugs in their midst. The PSNI were NOT being seen to be doing much about it. However I wish him all the best, I think his heart was in the right place if not his methods and their ineffectiveness.

  • latcheeco

    “decent middle class people” Sounds too much like the old “decent-law-biding-people-of-the pravince” nonsense. Are there no decent working class people?


    Good point latcheeco.

    The number of buses and black taxis going up and down the Falls, Shankill and North Belfast each morning and evening speaks volumes. There are 1000’s of good decent people in these areas who get up, go to work, come home and get on with life. They don’t want hassle or trouble and hate the criminal dirtbags who live in their midst. People outside these areas don’t realise that many ordinary people want no bother but are just afraid to report anything untoward in case they are targeted. It is human nature and that is why I have question marks on Hugh Orde’s tenure. The PSNI have the best manpower of any police force in Western Europe but is it being used effectively? NO I don’t think it is, there are too many policy writers and pen pushers in the PSNI pushing out self praising coloured brochures detached from these communities with very little interest in them. Out of sight out of mind.

  • fin

    mmmh, the tone of the last few threads sounds a tad like what happened in Iraq, unionists, the govt and PSNI appear to have only focussed on getting SF to say that republicans accepted the PSNI and had done little planning on how to police the republican areas. Do the PSNI and Policing Board have questions to answer.

    Driftwood, apols for poor grammar previously.

  • HeadTheBall

    “..would not be too objective..”

    Vocabulary, Driftwood, vocabulary.

    Did you mean “would not strongly object”?

    “objective” means something quite different.

  • Driftwood


    I stand corrected.