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Jon Boutcher confirmed as interim chief constable of the PSNI

The PSNI vacancy arose following the resignation of Simon Byrne following a number of controversies.

Jon Boutcher, the former police chief of Bedfordshire, has been confirmed as the interim chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Mr Boutcher has recently been conducting an investigation into the activities of Stakeknife, the Army’s top agent in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

The Operation Kenova report is expected to be published in the coming months.

PSNI data breach
Simon Byrne resigned as PSNI chief constable following a number of controversies (Liam McBurney/PA)

The PSNI vacancy arose following the resignation of Simon Byrne following a number of controversies.

These included a significant data breach in which the personal details of all officers and staff were mistakenly published online and a critical High Court ruling that said that two junior officers had been unlawfully disciplined.

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton is currently leading the force, although he is not at his desk following a medical procedure.

Police officers unlawfully disciplined
Policing Board chairwoman Deirdre Toner said Mr Boutcher’s appointment will bring stability to the leadership of the PSNI (Liam McBurney/PA)

Speaking about the interim appointment, Policing Board chairwoman Deirdre Toner said: “The appointment of Jon Boutcher as interim chief constable will bring stability to the leadership of the PSNI and the service executive team until the substantive appointment chief constable process has been completed.

“The board looks forward to working with Mr Boutcher and the wider service executive team as we progress the issues and pressures currently facing policing.”

Mr Boutcher previously applied to become PSNI chief constable in 2019 but lost out on that occasion to Mr Byrne.

The job advertisement for the temporary role said the successful candidate will be in the post for a minimum of three months, with the potential for further extension.

The salary for the job is £219,894 a year.

Applications for the permanent chief constable role will close on October 16.

The appointment panel will be made up of Policing Board chair Deirdre Toner; DUP member Joanne Bunting; Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly; the Alliance Party’s Nuala McAllister and independent board member Mukesh Sharma.

Northern Ireland’s new police chief will have a number of issues to deal with, including a budget crisis facing the force.

Senior officers have estimated that security and legal costs from the major data breach could potentially cost the force £240 million.

Last week, the Supreme Court issued a ruling on a long-running legal claim over holiday pay, which could see the force having to make back payments of tens of millions of pounds.

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