New Police Chief says force is "unique service with unique challenges"

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New PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne

By David Young, PA and Q Radio News

Northern Ireland's new police chief has formally assumed office.

Simon Byrne, the former head of Cheshire Constabulary, has taken over from retiring Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) chief constable Sir George Hamilton.

Mr Byrne, 56, participated in a formal attestation ceremony at the Belfast headquarters of the NI Policing Board, the PSNI's oversight body, on Monday afternoon.

He said the PSNI was a "unique service with unique challenges".

"I am proud to be sat here with the list of things to do ahead of me," he added.

An ice hockey fan, Mr Byrne made a sporting analogy as he talked about his plans for the future of the PSNI.

"It's not where the puck is now, it's where it is going next," he said.

Mr Byrne said his first priority was to get out and about across the service and communities to see how the organisation "ticks".

Policing Board chair Anne Connolly welcomed his appointment.

"Today marks another new chapter in the history of the PSNI," she said.

"In leading the service forward Chief Constable Byrne's experience will bring a new perspective and focus to the delivery of the policing service.

"The chief constable position is challenging, demanding and carries a high profile and we know that there is a lot in the inbox to deal with.

"As a board we are very much looking forward to working with him to tackle the challenges that lie ahead and we wish him well in his new post."

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