Letter: Chief constable's resignation was an unavoidable conclusion - confidence in him was beyond repair

Letters to editor (Photo: JP)
Letters to editor (Photo: JP)

Policing in Northern Ireland is in a very difficult place right now.

Successive crises have left confidence in the chief constable shattered from all directions. His resignation was the right thing to do and was necessary to begin to address the serious issues facing the PSNI.

Over the last month our primary interest has been safeguarding and supporting officers put at risk by the data breach. Now it must move to saving the new beginning to policing that so many took risks to secure. That includes addressing significant concerns about the erosion of confidence in the Policing Board as the body charged with holding the PSNI to account.

Simon Byrne reached the unavoidable conclusion that confidence in him as chief constable is beyond repair. Questions over his tenure had become a distraction that was preventing serious attention on the institutional issues that must be addressed within the PSNI. The resignation of one individual will not address those issues alone.

Governance, recruitment and retention, addressing the challenges in policing with the community, and restoring confidence in the PSNI must be our singular focus.

I will be speaking with the Secretary of State about the scale of the challenges facing policing and the urgency of the response required from government which must include a return to 50:50 recruitment.

Colum Eastwood MP

SDLP leader