SDLP Policing Board member Mark H Durkan has welcomed the appointment of Jon Boutcher as the interim Chief Constable of the PSNI.
Mr Durkan said that Mr Boutcher would have an important role to play in stabilising the PSNI after a difficult few months.
Foyle MLA Mr Durkan said:
“I welcome the appointment of someone of the calibre of Jon Boutcher as interim Chief Constable of the PSNI. It has been an incredibly difficult few months for policing in the North that has significantly damaged public confidence in our police service and even threatened our new beginning to policing. The SDLP has dealt with Mr Boutcher throughout the Operation Kenova process and I have confidence that during his interim period in the role he will do all he can to steady the ship.
“The situation facing the PSNI is stark. We are still dealing with the fallout of the data breach which has taken a heavy toll on officers and staff, the current policing budget makes it impossible to provide the services that communities expect, the PSNI is also dealing with serious issues around morale and culture that need to be addressed and we still don’t have a police service that is truly representative of the people it serves. We need renewed and real efforts to recruit more officers from a nationalist background, from newcomer communities and from working class areas.
“Dealing with the problems facing our police service will require a long-term strategy and significant restructuring of both the PSNI and the Policing Board itself. We look forward to working with Mr Boutcher during his time in this role and will be seeking a meeting with him in the coming days. This is an important period for the PSNI ahead of the appointment of a permanent Chief Constable and Mr Boutcher will have our full support as he works to address the issues that have emerged in recent months.”