Page last updated at 08:41 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 09:41 UK

Top police officer to step down

In 1999, Mr Sheridan graduated from the FBI Academy
In 1999, Mr Sheridan graduated from the FBI Academy

One of Northern Ireland's top police officers is stepping down from the PSNI to become chief executive of Co-Operation Ireland.

Assistant chief constable Peter Sheridan, who is the PSNI's most senior Catholic officer, joined the police over 30 years ago.

He was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours last year.

Mr Sheridan was considered a possible successor to Sir Hugh Orde as chief constable.

He said he looked forward to a time when 50/50 recruitment of Catholics and Protestants was no longer needed in the PSNI.

"Until such times that the police service is reflective of society out there, it will be necessary," he said.

"As soon as that requirement is reached, there will be no further need for it. People should be selected because of their skills and because they want to be a police officer."

Better relations

He is leaving the PSNI to work at Co-operation Ireland, which aims to promote better relations between people on both sides of the border.

Mr Sheridan spent much of his service in the north-west, where he rose through the ranks from Constable to Assistant Chief Constable responsible for Rural Region.

In February 2006, he assumed responsibility for the Crime Operations Department, made up of officers investigating serious crime, organised crime and intelligence.

In 1999, Mr Sheridan graduated from the FBI Academy.

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