world news

Northern Ireland’s police chief resigned on Monday amid low morale among his officers after a massive data breach put nearly 10,000 of their names in the hands of dissident Republicans.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne has resisted calls to resign in the weeks following the accidental leak of Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) personnel data in response to an access request. information.

The pressure on him grew after further revelations of security breaches, culminating last week after a High Court judge ruled he had unlawfully disciplined two junior officers who were taking part at a Troubles memorial event.

High Court judge Mr Justice Scoffield said the officers had been disciplined to quell the threat that Sinn Fein might withdraw their policing support.

Sinn Fein has insisted it has never made such a threat, but the Democratic Unionist Party has taken a motion of no confidence in Mr Byrne with the Police Board of Northern Ireland.

“Morale has never been lower in the service,” said Liam Kelly, chairman of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland, after Mr Bryne resigned at a fourth emergency police commission in just under a month.

“Mr Byrne has now done the right thing,” he added.

The Northern Ireland Superintendents Association said the resignation ended a period of “worrying uncertainty and great concern within the Service”.

“Incredibly difficult”

As recently as last Thursday, and after a marathon seven-hour interrogation by the Police Board, Mr Byrne, 60, insisted he would not quit.

The Surrey-born chief constable had accepted the High Court’s decision but suggested on Thursday he could appeal instead.

This prompted a furious reaction from the Police Federation of Northern Ireland, which had launched the legal challenge which led to the High Court judgment.

Mr Byrne was facing two further possible no-confidence motions on Wednesday from the region’s Police Federation and the body representing civilian PSNI personnel.

He was also due to be questioned by Westminster MPs on Tuesday over the data breach scandal.

Police Board Deputy Chairman Edgar Jardine said the criticism from officers and staff had had “a fairly significant impact on Mr Byrne’s decision to step down”.

Police Board Chair Deirdre Toner said Mr Byrne had tendered his resignation with immediate effect.

She said: “His tenure has come under intense scrutiny and I’m sure the last few weeks in particular have been incredibly difficult for him personally and professionally. »

The Police Board extended Mr Byrne’s contract until 2027 earlier this year. When asked if he would receive a severance package, Ms Toner said it was a “staffing issue” at this stage.

telegraph UK

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Source : zaborona