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EDITIONS
Friday, 31 May, 2002, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Senior officers back new police chief
Hugh Orde
Mr Orde's appointment came after long deliberations
Senior police officers have given their backing to the appointment of Hugh Orde as Northern Ireland chief constable.

The Chief Officers' Staff Association, which includes unsuccessful candidates Alan McQuillan and Chris Albiston, said he had their full confidence.

Mr Orde, who is currently deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, was appointed chief constable on Wednesday.

There was unionist disquiet at the decision, and two unionist members of the interviewing panel failed to attend a news conference announcing the appointment.


We are confident that Hugh will make a great chief constable in the police service of Northern Ireland and look forward to working with him

Chief Officers' Staff Association

However, in a statement issued on Friday, Mr McQuillan, secretary of the Chief Officers' Staff Association, said: "As senior commanders in the police service of Northern Ireland we welcome warmly the appointment of Hugh Orde as our new chief constable.

"We are confident that Hugh will make a great chief constable in the police service of Northern Ireland and look forward to working with him in taking our service forward and improving our service to the entire community in Northern Ireland."

Confidential discussions

There has been other high level support for the appointment, this time from Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Dan Crompton, the inspector involved in the appointment process, said he told the secretary of state that Mr Orde would be a chief constable of distinction.

Mr Crompton's statement followed claims by some unionist Policing Board members that it should have been declared a no board.


Hugh Orde stands head and shoulders above so many of his contemporaries and I would have thought he is the ideal candidate for that job

Glen Smythe
Metropolitan Police Federation

His statement said: "It is a strict HMIC policy not to comment on individual candidates or play into a public arena confidential discussions which took place within a selection panel.

"It is unfortunate that this widespread accepted practice has been breached - and it offends the principles of human rights."

Earlier on Thursday, a spokesman for Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid said he was satisfied with the appointment.

'Raise morale'

Mr Orde is currently leading the investigation into the murder of the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

He joined the Metropolitan Police 25 years ago when he was in his late teens and at 43, climbed to the rank of deputy assistant commissioner.

The officer who heads the police force union in London has heaped praise on the new chief constable.

Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid
John Reid: Congratulated Mr Orde on his appointment

Glen Smythe, who chairs the Metropolitan Police Federation, said if anyone could raise morale in the service, it was Mr Orde.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster on Friday, he said: "He is a man with a great deal of presence. He has integrity, he is a great leader and he has so many of the attributes that you would naturally want in someone who is in one of the toughest policing roles anywhere in Europe.

"Hugh Orde stands head and shoulders above so many of his contemporaries. I would have thought he is the ideal candidate for that job.

"There is no side to the man. He will not flinch from doing what is right and upholding the law."

He added: "He is just what the Police Service of Northern Ireland needs at this moment."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
New PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde
"I see it as a post of huge importance to policing"
BBC NI's Brian Rowan:
"There will be a number of problems facing Hugh Orde as chief constable"
Read BBC News Online's full special report on policing reform in Northern Ireland

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Background

OTHER SPECIAL REPORTS
See also:

30 May 02 | N Ireland
20 May 02 | N Ireland
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