I’m sure it is only decent christian forbearance that stops the Chief Constable Matt Baggott from telling his political employers exactly what he thinks of them. They booked him for the gig knowing exactly what they were getting, and they could have sacked him at any point after.
Not that you’d know that from their public utterances during the last two or three summers. The running public commentary (which contrived to undermine the cops very cops they themselves are in control of) came from whichever side the PSNI was locking up or not locking up.
The Policing Board of Northern Ireland has become a loud platform for political grandstanding. The abandonment of key performance targets by the Board suggests a body determined not to know what the police get up to than one serious about actually holding them to account.
Chris Kilpatrick writing in the BelTel notes:
The Policing Board, which will oversee the appointment and that of the new Deputy Chief Constable, will meet to discuss the candidates next month.
Last night, a senior police source said whoever is chosen to replace 55-year-old Mr Baggott must be prepared for “a siege” as the head of the most scrutinised force in the world.
In regard to the Policing Board, the source said: “They have made it [the Chief Constable post] such an unpleasant role.
“It sounds to me like a battle a day – a siege.”
If Sinn Féin members are on the Executive and the policing boards, they undermine the authority of the PSNI if they question its operational decisions on who to arrest or which crimes to pursue. That is fundamentally wrong and Sinn Féin does not enjoy that luxury.
In fact as the parades issue remains unresolved post Haass, this is an ongoing danger and one where there is little reciprocal leadership on either side of the leadership divide.