Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 13:31 UK

Orde: 'NI in most challenging time'


Orde: 'I have no regrets'

Departing PSNI chief constable Sir Hugh Orde has admitted he is leaving during Northern Ireland's "most challenging times" since his arrival in 2002.

Sir Hugh's tenure as chief constable has been during a period of relative peace, but the murders last month by dissident republicans of two soldiers and a policeman has led to renewed international focus on Northern Ireland.

Cross-community support for the police has dramatically increased during his time in charge, and he said he was leaving policing in a healthy state as he takes on a new role as president of the Association of Chief Police Officers.

"I've been here for nearly seven years - I said I'd come for five," he told a news conference.

"I've got mixed emotions about going - this is a great organisation to lead and it's done outstandingly well.

It has been a rough and challenging ride, that's what you expect at this level of policing
Sir Hugh Orde

"The time has come (to leave) - fresh eyes look at things differently and we need to move in a slightly different direction."

Sir Hugh was appointed chief constable of the fledgling Police Service of Northern Ireland in 2002, an organisation which had been been reformed from the old Royal Ulster Constabulary.

"I would like to think people have seen a drive towards community policing, and a relentless implementation of the Patten recommendations which were the blueprint for the successes here," he said.

"Overall, if you step back and look at what has been achieved by this organisation, it has created the conditions that have allowed politics to move on," he said.

"The way that officers on the frontline have delivered has been the reason we are now in a more peaceful situation than we were seven years ago."

Sir Hugh Orde, pictured upon taking the PSNI job and at a farewell news conference
Sir Hugh in 2002 upon taking the PSNI job and in 2009 revealing his departure

He said he had "no regrets in anything particular I wish we'd done better".

"It has been a rough and challenging ride, that's what you expect at this level of policing," he said.

Sir Hugh said it would be "for others to judge" if he'd be a hard act to follow.

"There's a uniqueness about policing in Northern Ireland at every level," he said.

"At the bottom level no other police service has officers who have to check under their car every day before driving to work.

"No other police service delivering on ordinary calls has to send five officers with a helicopter above to make sure they're safe."

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Orde will be hard act to follow
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Reaction to Orde's departure
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Orde quits NI police for new role
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Orde 'would be rejected by PSNI'
13 Apr 09 |  Northern Ireland

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