#Baggott: PSNI should *no longer* be accountable

Matt Baggott is pretty much leaving the PSNI in the same way as he joined in 2009. At that time, he was being pressed by the Coroner John Leckey to release files on shoot-to-kill cases from 1982 so that inquests could be held. His predecessor, Hugh Orde had been ignoring a similar request since 2007. At the time, the PSNI released a statement saying: The PSNI wishes to re-emphasise its willingness to co-operate fully with the coroner and continues to … Read more

The next Chief Constable… is George Hamilton

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…  Having “unanimously” agreed to appoint Matt Baggott as PSNI Chief Constable in 2009 for his strong advocacy of “community-style policing”, the Northern Ireland Policing Board, or its party political members, might be said to be experiencing buyer’s regret. Alternatively, those same political parties have undermined the outgoing Chief Constable throughout his tenure by putting their own party political concerns ahead of the ‘greater good’ – by word, and by deed.  [“ahem* – Ed]. ANYhoo… with Matt Baggott announcing his … Read more

Matt Baggott: “Under the Patten architecture, to which all political parties have signed up…”

PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott has rejected Sinn Fein’s claims of “political policing” in the arrest and questioning of party president Gerry Adams.  And in doing so he highlights an inconvenient truth for the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister.  From the BBC report In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Baggott said the accusation of a “dark side” within the PSNI was one he refuted. “Under the Patten architecture, to which all political parties have signed up, there are numerous ways … Read more

Mr Justice Treacy: “It is evident that ACC Kerr was labouring under a material misapprehension as to the proper scope of police powers…”

The Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, has reportedly said that the police will appeal the High Court decision allowing “an application for a judicial review of the PSNI’s policing of the flag protests in Belfast between 8 December 2012 and 14 February 2013.” From the reported ruling Mr Justice Treacy was less than impressed by Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr’s interpretation of the legal position.  As the summary of the judgment notes [added emphasis] The Court heard evidence from [Assistant] Chief Constable Will … Read more

So now I’m suing, now I’m not…

This, for the record, is one of the oddest stories I’ve seen since I started blogging on Northern Ireland. Here, without further comment is Gerry Kelly explaining his decision to withdraw his legal action against the Chief Constable of the PSNI, three days after announcing it:  …on Thursday, the North Belfast MLA said the incident had “unfortunately split opinion into two camps of unionist versus nationalist alongside elements in the media reducing the issue to one of money”. “Issuing the … Read more

Memo to the next Chief Constable: “It sounds to me like a battle a day – a siege.”

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 … Read more

Matt Baggott to step down as PSNI Chief Constable

Having been appointed, unanimously, by the Northern Ireland Policing Board in August 2009, PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott is to step down from the post.  And, apparently, he is to retire from policing after a 37-year-long career.  His contract was due to end in September 2014.  Presumably he will remain in position here until then… From the BBC report He took up the job as head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in August 2009 and his contract ends in September 2014. … Read more

Chief Constable Matt Baggott to retire later this year & not extend his contract

Chief Constable Matt Baggott has announced that he will retire and not seek an extension to his contract. UTV quote from his email to PSNI colleagues: I wanted to let you know that I have notified the Policing Board this morning of my intention to retire from the PSNI later this year. As such I will not be seeking an extension to my contract which ends in September 2014. I felt it important that you should hear about this first … Read more

Is ‘Mutual Aid’ an explicit criticism of PSNI political policing?

Chris has pretty much nailed most of the 2013 #Twelfth (so far) apart from one issue which has generally passed almost without comment. A couple of days before the Twelfth, the PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott announced that 630 extra police officers would be deployed for the 2013 marching season. These officers would be drafted in from England, Scotland and Wales. The BelTel on 10th July reported: Speaking last night, Mr Baggott said the operational move was made as this year … Read more

Matt Baggott on flag protests, Boston tapes, G8 summit, drones & social media

It’s all looking a bit fraught. We need a recovery plan. The words of the Chief Constable Matt Baggott describing the fortunes of his football club rather than the PSNI’s response to the flags crisis. Though the words must echo what went through the PSNI senior officers’ minds when the flags crisis didn’t abate before Christmas. Monday’s post covered PSNI transformation, regulation and vocation. Remember that blogs aren’t newspapers, so not every post has to try to make a news … Read more

Interview with Matt Baggott: his view on PSNI transformation, confidence in policing, over-regulation, vocation & faith

We usually hear public figures speaking in sound bites. At most ten minute interviews about some topic of the day. We rarely get to listen in as they explain what motivates them to do their job and reflect on their rationale or approach. The PSNI Chief Constable has been given advice on what he should do and how he should do it from before he arrived in Northern Ireland and it will no doubt continue until long after he has … Read more

“Our job is to express the concerns as we hear them in the community…”

If it’s not Sinn Féin complaining about ‘political policing’, it’s the DUP. Mr Robinson said that trust needed to be rebuilt. “It’s important that the police gain the confidence of the unionist community, or regain the confidence of that section of the unionist community who have lost confidence in the police, by showing that his actions were entirely even-handed,” Mr Robinson said. “Our job is to express the concerns as we hear them in the community. [Good to see both parties are still … Read more

Matt Baggott: “we will deal firmly with outbreaks of violence…”

The BBC report on the continuing violence in Belfast now has quotes from the PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott  [Is he back from his holidays? – Ed] “I want to commend the tireless courage of my officers at this very difficult time,” Chief Constable Matt Baggott said. “You may be assured there will be sufficient resources in the event of more disorder for however long is necessary. “The police service will continue to do everything possible to maintain law and … Read more

PUP conference – Irish language, welfare reform, parading, Matt Baggott and the leader’s speech

Billy Hutchinson - newly elected as PUP leader

Today was Billy Hutchinson’s second conference as leader of the Progressive Unionist Party. His taking over the reins last year was seen as a last gasp attempt to keep the party open for business. The number of people attending the conference was up this year: I’d estimate a hundred people were in the Ramada Encore room, though not all had yet paid their party dues. The PUP seeks to give working class loyalists a voice. The big question for the … Read more

Chief Constable on NI Media: “they are part of the confidence-building…”

The PSNI Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, has been speaking to the Leveson Inquiry about the Northern Ireland media.  From the BBC report Mr Baggott said: “The local media in Northern Ireland have an absolute commitment to the future of the province. “They have a stake in it. And they are part of the confidence-building and they have an ownership of the issues.” Mr Baggott said the local media also understood the consequences of the way something was reported, and the consequences … Read more

“His willingness to attend a Sinn Féin ard fheis sometime next year will not resolve this…”

In the Belfast Telegraph Liam Clarke notes Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly’s ‘lukewarm’ response to Chief Constable Matt Baggott’s generous offer to speak at the next SF ard fheis.  From the Belfast Telegraph article Gerry Kelly, the party’s policing spokesman, said: “While it is an interesting suggestion, and presumably the party will give it due consideration, the ard fheis is not until next May, so it’s far too early to suggest who will be invited.” ….. Mr Kelly amplified his criticism … Read more

Increased security measures for Londonderry courthouse

Following last month’s attempted car bomb at the courthouse in Londonderry, the BBC reports Increased security measures are to be installed at the courthouse in Londonderry after an attempted bomb attack on the building last month. More than 120 bollards will be placed on the footpath outside the court, stretching from the city walls to St. Columb’s Court. Similar measures have already been put in place at the Strand Road police station in the city. Road closures have been ordered … Read more

Ombudsman’s Report into McGurk’s Bar

The report into the McGurk’s bar bombing has finally come out. It did come out previously when Al Hutchinson published his report to a storm of protest from the families. Hutchinson then promptly withdrew the report though bizarrely denied it was embarrassing: “I wouldn’t say it’s an embarrassment, I take it as a learning opportunity – we must do better.” The new mark two report is now out (full report PDF here) and seems somewhat more to the families’ liking. … Read more

End of history: Or how I learned to start worrying and forget about my bombs

Carál Ní Chuilín, MLA and Gerry Kelly, MLA are both open and proud on their previous membership of a now defunct branch of Óglaigh na hÉireann. Both served prison sentences for bombing campaigns in areas mainly used by ‘civilians’ on behalf of that IRA. When the most recent in a long line of British ‘Chief Constables’ controlling policing in the north of Ireland needed a comparative for the recent extended disruption on the Antrim Road, he choose the Omagh bomb. … Read more

Alex Maskey: “I find it truly disrespectful that he decided to make the announcement at a public session…”

I didn’t see any immediate reaction from Sinn Féin to the Chief Constable’s announcement on Thursday that 150 officers would be redeployed to guard police stations in light of the increased threat from republican paramilitary groups. But Matt Baggott’s reported comments at Saturday’s UUP conference – that the reductions in police numbers from 13,000 to 7,000 was done too quickly – appear to have struck a nerve. The BBC reports that Sinn Féin MLA, and Northern Ireland Policing Board member, Alex Maskey, “has disagreed with the chief constable’s assessment … Read more