North’s chief constable Baggott to stand down in September

Most senior PSNI officer is not seeking extension to his five-year contract

The North's chief constable Matt Baggott announced today that he is to retire in September after 37 years as a police officer and five years leading the PSNI.

Mr Baggott said he is not seeking an extension to his contract which ends in September.

Earlier this year the PSNI deputy chief constable Judith Gillespie announced that she is retiring in March. It will be for the North's Policing Board to appoint a new chief constable and deputy chief constable.

Mr Baggott said it had been a real privilege to lead the PSNI through the “immense changes” of the past few years. “I am deeply proud of the courage and commitment of my colleagues and the enormous progress they have made on behalf of everyone,” he said.


“In my remaining months as chief my priorities will be to ensure the PSNI has the resources to deal effectively with the many challenges ahead and that our very personal, professional and protective service goes from strength to strength,” he added.

Mr Baggott took over from Sir Hugh Orde as chief constable with a plan to focus on community policing in the new Northern Ireland.

While this was a part feature of his time as chief constable he was forced to place greater concentration on trying to deal with the threat from dissident republicans. During his time as chief he managed to gain an additional £250 million in funding from the British treasury to address the dissident threat.

Frequent bouts of public disorder arising from issues such as parading, sectarian tensions, and flags also deflected him from his wish to concentrate on more normal policing issues such as regular crime.

Anne Connolly, chairwoman of the Policing Board said his was one of the most demanding jobs in policing.

“During his tenure Matt has dealt with some of the most challenging issues in ensuring the safety and security of our community,” she said.

“A strong advocate for community policing, Matt has worked to make sure his officers and staff deliver the best possible service to the community and build on the considerable policing change programme here.

“I look forward to continuing this work with Matt in the remainder of his service with the PSNI,” she added.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times