No, the PSNI Chief Constable hasn’t “the toughest policing job in the world”

Here we are, still sold on the idea of how exceptional we are. Comment on Mick’s post on the appointment of a chief constable failed to notice that there’s  a wider world out there. It’s no longer the case that the PSNI have “the toughest policing job in in the world” and other superlatives. Try the Met which has gone through three commissioners in five years. Race issuesjihadist extremism and flash rioting in today’s human rights culture make it very tough for the police everywhere. The PSNI may actually be in a better position than the police service in England where there is a supposed crisis of public confidence.

Northern Ireland conditions are no longer so distinctive in policing terms. Many police services in England are newly accountable to elected police and crime commissioners elected on a very low poll.  There is no local equivalent of the London mayor, and in a perverse way the sectarian divide provides some protection against an arbitrary exercise of power.

The application of policing by consent to Northern Ireland has been as much of a success as could be hoped for. Baggot was the first CC to have no direct knowledge of NI.  (Orde was Stevens’ deputy, and knew where the metaphorical bodies were buried and he was clearly on the rise).  The thing to watch for is whether the top job will attract rising stars.    The changes to allow an appointment from within are surely sensible provided a suitable level of training has been reached and the force isn’t allowed to become introverted.

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  • Mick Fealty


    “failed to notice that there’s a wider world out there”

    All too common a failure round these here parts, I’m sad to say…

  • IrelandNorth

    The unemployed often complain that they can’t get a job because they’ve no experience. And they can’t get experience because they’ve no job. Somewhat of a chicken and egg conundrum. Yet, like solutions to the most complicated problems, the answer is relatively straighforward. David Ford should get on to his southern counterpart Alan Shatter, and suggest that current Deputy Assistant Chief Constable (DACC) of the the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Judith Gillespie, be considered for the position of Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Án Gárda Síochána na h’Éireann (ÁGSÉ) for the requisite period to qualify her as PSNI/CC. Matt Baggot’s successor could be contracted for two years. Then if DACC/DC Gillespie wished to head up ÁGSÉ, Commissioner Callanan may have retired in the intervening years. The Commissioners current deputy might equally be seconded to the PSNI for like period. This would not only be good for gender equality, but would go a long way to challenge patriarchal culture in both police forces on the Island.

  • Richlinkedin

    I don’t know whether “Crisis”. in confidence, is the right word about English policing. De Menezes. Plebgate. Police Federation, Lawrence Inquiry, policing of the miners strike, Churchill’s warning that police may become a Gestapo, arresting kids with colouring books at a power station protest (whilst missing an intruder who wandered in and switched off 10% of UK power supply and presumably walked out never to be caught). Savile. Bryn Estyn, Bottling the riots a couple of years ago, hard stops with scant regard to putting a cab driver in the firing line.

    In Kent the David O’Leary murder of 2008 saw contempt for police emerge. A taxi driver dialled 999 as shotgun wounded David emerged from his front path and collapsed dying in front of the cab. The 999 answer told cabbie stay there and wait for police. At least a very brave man was with David at the end. In an unlit single track country lane. A shotgun murderer and possibly accomplices about. The cabbie stood his ground and waited for police.

    45 minutes. The police held back on a risk assessment to wait for armed support.

    The cabbie stood his ground and did not abandon the body. He had been told to wait for police that is what he did.

    A constable is sworn to the Queen as an independent ministerial officer of the Crown. He alone is answerable at criminal law to the Queen for the conduct of his duties.

    The constable is not given orders except by warrant of a judge. He is charged with duties and bound by oath. The true constable advances and places himself between the subject and the threat.

    Cowards all. Home Office civil servants masquerading as constables. Doing what they are told. Bleating in compliance with Home Office key competency brain washing.

    As far as I know no one has really looked from ordinary England at PSNI. Do they take constable oaths any more ? Apparently they are not subject to HMI or IPCC. So to England PSNI looks a bit like a large collection of PCSOs.

    Whether in England a Police version of Sir Richard Dannatt’s constitutional guideline for Army will be the answer ?

    I have never met anyone who believes a word of the Lawrence Inquiry. I do meet ex Kent miners who say they wish they had not been passive in 84 (Not risking the redundancy pay off by getting arrested) Who wouldn’t mind a rematch before they tumble off the twig.

  • Richlinkedin

    Mick an aside because you seem to be something of an educationalist. Our daughter noticed our 4 year old grandson light still on. There he is in his bed reading a book. And he is outraged.

    “What’s this”

    “Well that is grandad putting your name in the book using his calligraphy pen”

    “Does my name start capital T. Because what is this capital C thing all about. I think before I settle down I better ring Grandad about doing his capital T properly.”

  • Richlinkedin

    To finish with the flavour of English police understanding of the Irish situation. Kent CID making inquiries after the 1989 Deal Barracks bombing.

    “You are a member of the Ramsgate Irish community sir. Have you recently been approached by a David and Sarah, Irish accents, seeking lodgings ?”

    Man “I am Orange Order”

    CID ” And that is Irish innit ?”

    Man “when I went to school we used to sing are you a billy or a dan or an old tin can”

    CID “Really sir and what is the old tin can ?”

    man “Someone who got kicked by both sides mate”

    CID “So you haven’t heard of a David and a Sarah then”

    man “Well I aint heard of an Irish community either come to that”