Federation passes vote of ‘no confidence’ in PSNI deputy chief constable

An extraordinary meeting of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) has unanimously passed a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the deputy chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Mark Hamilton.

Sep 6, 2023
By Paul Jacques
PFNI chair Liam Kelly

It also voted to express no confidence in the PSNI’s chief operating officer and the assistant chief officer.

The decision followed a lengthy meeting that examined the fall-out from the Judicial Review ruling, which found that the suspension and repositioning of two probationer officers involved in the Ormeau Rd commemoration incident was unlawful.

An emergency meeting of Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) on Monday afternoon (September 4) to discuss the High Court ruling resulted in the resignation of Simon Byrne as chief constable with immediate effect.

PFNI chair Liam Kelly said: “We had a thorough and detailed discussion of all the issues relating to the Judicial Review ruling, the treatment of our two probationer officers and the monumental data breaches.

“Our Federation is of the collective view that because of his [Mr Hamilton’s] involvement in the decisions concerning the Ormeau Rd incident, and the real or perceived political interference in that process, we can have no confidence in him.

“Furthermore, in the wider context of the management, accountability and operation of the service, my Federation colleagues said they had no confidence either in the Chief Operating Officer Pamela McCreedy, and the Assistant Chief Officer Clare Duffield.”

The PFNI said there was also a need for “urgent clarification” from the senior executive team over whether the PSNI would continue with its intention to appeal the Judicial Review ruling.

“There was also heavy criticism of the NIPB and the manner in which it handled the fall-out from the ongoing crisis and the need for a review of its effectiveness and role, specifically the interference it had in operational decision-making,” said Mr Kelly.

“The service is in dire need of clear and strong leadership. We have to fix what’s fractured and change the entire way of working so that there isn’t a damaging and dangerous disconnect between the senior executive team and all officers.”

He added: “We do our level best – often going well beyond what’s expected – to deliver professional policing for this entire community. To continue on that path, we must have a leadership that listens and acts on the genuine and constructive feedback from the rank-and-file.

“None of this is easy, but we feel we owe it to our members to express in the strongest possible terms the deep feelings of hurt, resentment and anger that exists.

“The Federation stands ready to work collaboratively to re-build the organisation and put policing back on an even keel.”

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