After today’s emergency meeting of the Policing Board the UUP leader Doug Beattie MC MLA called for the following actions:
• The Chief Constable to stand down;
• The Deputy Chief Constable to stand down;
• The Department of Justice to commission a root and branch review of the Policing Board.
Mr Beattie said: “Ulster Unionists have believed for some time that chief constable Simon Byrne is not the entirety of the problem facing the PSNI. Therefore, to remove him and do nothing else will not fix some deep-rooted issues around cohesion, internal communication, and senior leadership relationships.
“The Ormeau Road incident was a car crash of policing. As we said at the time, those two probationary officers should never have been allowed to patrol south Belfast that day without being briefed that it was the anniversary of the Sean Graham Bookmakers atrocity. They were hung out to dry then and hung out to dry again with the suspension and repositioning.
“The incident, and the judgement of Justice Scoffield, confirms our view that there are issues with the PSNI’s Senior Executive Team. On that basis, and after consulting with our Policing Board member Mike Nesbitt MLA, I am calling on Chief Constable Simon Byrne and Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton to consider their positions and resign for the good of the service and to enable controlled change in the senior leadership positions within the PSNI.
“Ulster Unionists are also of the opinion that the Policing Board itself needs reviewed. I am calling on the Department of Justice to commission an independent review, with particular focus on the efficacy of the way the Board and its main sub committees hold senior officers to account.
“There also need to be an independent review of the information provided to the Chief Constable following the incident at the memorial at Sean Graham's bookmakers. Who briefed him on the possible political repercussions and how did this lead him to unlawfully discipline two officers?
“It is my opinion that we do not dive deeply enough into these sorts of issues. This clearly needs fixed.”