Eastwood welcomes appointment of Jon Boutcher as PSNI Chief Constable

psni policing colum eastwood mark h durkan Jon Boutcher

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has welcomed the appointment of Jon Boutcher as permanent PSNI Chief Constable.

Mr Boutcher has been serving as interim chief constable since last month.

His appointment was confirmed on Tuesday evening.

Foyle MP Mr Eastwood said:

“In his short time as interim PSNI Chief Constable Jon Boutcher has already brought much needed stability to an organisation that has been wracked with controversy in recent months. That he has now been appointed on a permanent basis will allow him to continue his initial good work to put things right within the PSNI, but we should not underestimate the large amount of work ahead to rebuild confidence in the organisation.

“Among the challenges facing the new chief constable are the continued fallout from the PSNI data breach which has left officers and staff feeling incredibly vulnerable and a budget which threatens to decimate services, particularly on the ground in local communities which will further impact confidence in policing here.

“Mr Boutcher must also address long-standing issues around representation of the nationalist community and other minority communities in the PSNI. To command the confidence of the public the PSNI must reflect the community it serves and the SDLP has long believed that this can only be achieved with a return to 50:50 recruitment. I look forward to meeting with the new Chief Constable in the days ahead so that we can discuss working together to tackle the challenges facing the PSNI.”

SDLP Policing Board member Mark H Durkan said:

“Jon Boutcher takes up the role of Chief Constable at arguably the most challenging time for policing since the new beginning afforded to us by the Patten Report. He already has a litany of issues on his desk, officers and staff that are low in morale and a public that has significantly diminished confidence following a number of high-profile issues.

“The SDLP will work constructively with the new police constable and will offer support in any way we can, but we will also hold him to account and ensure that we see progress on the wide range of issues currently facing the organisation. During his short time as interim Chief Constable Jon Boutcher has already made a number of positive moves and I hope to see him build on that in the weeks and months ahead.”

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