Byrne exit shows weight of political pressure on Northern Irelands police

Logo The GuardianThe Guardian
2023-09-04 18:14:44  • 4 mins

In the end, it appears it was the politics of Northern Ireland that ended Simon Byrnes career as chief constable.

Nowhere outside the Metropolitan area in London is the job of policing subject to such scrutiny, criticism and political commentary.

However, the sudden departure on Monday of the head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) after an emergency meeting came as a bolt from the blue.

Byrne had seemed to weather the biggest crisis to hit modern policing in the region a data leak of about 10,000 PSNI officers and staff that included the surname and first initial of every employee, as well as their rank or grade, where they were based and the unit they worked for, in response to a freedom of information request.

It is a measure of the continued fragility of the peace process in Northern Ireland that the accidental publication of personal details put families at risk.

Northern Ireland police chief quits after series of controversies

Read more

Even 25 years after the Good Friday peace agreement, many officers continue to shield their identities, with some not even not telling their children they are in the PSNI.

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