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Police Federation stands by vote of no confidence in Deputy Chief Constable

A body which represents rank and file police officers in Northern Ireland has stood by its vote of no confidence in Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton.

Following a lengthy extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, the federation also expressed no confidence in the PSNI’s chief operating officer, Pamela McCreedy, and assistant chief officer Clare Duffield.

It came as policing in Northern Ireland spirals into crisis with the resignation of former chief constable Simon Byrne after a string of controversies.

They include a significant data breach which disclosed personal details of officers and staff, and a critical High Court judgment which said the disciplining of two officers following an arrest at a Troubles memorial event in Belfast in 2021 was unlawful.

Liam Kelly interview
Liam Kelly, chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (Peter Morrison/PA)

Mr Hamilton had been steering the organisation while moves are under way to recruit a new chief.

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He had been expected to attend the federation’s meeting but was unable to due to an unplanned medical procedure.

Federation chairman Liam Kelly said his organisation’s collective view was that due to Mr Hamilton’s involvement in decisions around the handling of the memorial event, and “the real or perceived political interference in that process”, they “can have no confidence in him”.

Deirdre Toner, chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board – which met on Thursday, said at this time public commentary on confidence in individuals on the senior leadership team “is not endorsed by the board”.

“The board has set in place review mechanisms and other processes are under way, and these must be allowed to progress and complete,” she said.

Ms Toner said she expects Mr Hamilton will be back at his desk in a few days.

Edgar Jardine, vice chair of the board, added: “Public commentary on confidence in individuals in senior leadership is not helpful, and are not endorsed by the board”.

Simon Byrne resignation
Policing Board chair Deirdre Toner and Edgar Jardine, vice chair (Liam McBurney/PA)

Mr Kelly responded saying: “The comments and criticism from Mr Jardine on behalf of NIPB are noted.

“The decisions of the PFNI Central Committee were laid out in our media release yesterday and are a matter of public record.

“In line with our members policing without fear or favour, the PFNI will continue to professionally comment on matters as we see fit on behalf of our representatives and membership.”