Head of the PSNI might face a vote of no confidence from the force’s officers and civilian employees.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne is under increasing scrutiny as members of the PSNI’s uniformed and civilian workforce consider no-confidence motions in his leadership.

After a lengthy meeting with his supervisors on Thursday, the Chief Constable insisted he would remain in his position.

A High Court judge, Mr. Justice Scoffield, ruled earlier this week that two young officers were unlawfully reprimanded for an arrest made at a Troubles commemoration event in 2021, sparking the latest controversy to hit the force.
The court explained that the disciplinary action was taken because there was concern that Sinn Fein may stop funding police.

The Sinn Fein party has denied making any such threat.

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Although Mr. Byrne first stated that he accepted the ruling, he suggested on Thursday that an appeal was being contemplated and stated that any further statement would be improper.
Liam Kelly, the chair of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland, reacted with “disbelief and anger” to the news.

Mr. Kelly added, “Once again, the two officers at the center of the case are being treated with disdain, and this has infuriated and antagonized the rank and file.”It’s extremely harmful to police morale and must be denounced.
Then he said, “In short, I am disgusted, disillusioned, and extremely angry.”
The PSNI leadership may face a vote of no confidence from the Police Federation, which has called for an emergency meeting of its executive central committee on the following Wednesday.

Next week, Nipsa, which represents a number of civilian police staff, will host an emergency meeting of the departmental committee of police staff representatives to determine if a vote of no confidence in Mr. Byrne is warranted.

The way the organization’s members have been treated, I believe, has finally reached a breaking point.

Nipsa official Tracy Godfrey said she feels it is possible that police personnel colleagues will wish to hold such a vote.

“I think people have just come to the end of the road with how the organization is being treated,” she said on the Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster.It’s been disaster after disaster, with the data leak coming after years of DoJ (Department of Justice) assurances that police personnel aren’t in danger to the same extent as police officers.

If “the data breach comes out and our names are on it,” and if “people start knocking on our door,” we have no ability to defend ourselves because we are not armed like police officers.
Later on Friday, Mr. Byrne is scheduled to meet with unionist leaders.
Doug Beattie, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, has demanded the resignations of both Mr. Byrne and his deputy, Mark Hamilton.
“None of it looks good,” he said on the BBC show Good Morning Ulster. “You just need to look at the reaction of the Police Federation and the rank and file officers of the PSNI just to see how bad this actually is.”What I do know for sure is that I have lost all faith in the leadership of the Northern Ireland Police Service, and I do not believe that it can be restored.
Mr. Beattie, referring to the possibility of an appeal over the court verdict, said, “It is simply absurd and it further undermines his position and the leadership of the police.

And it further alienates the rank-and-file police and public confidence in what’s going on at the very top of a service that’s supposed to provide us that impression of robust policing.
The High Court issued its ruling based on an incident that occurred on Belfast’s Ormeau Road in 2021, during a memorial service commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1992 attack on Sean Graham Bookmakers, in which five persons were killed.
After the 2021 arrest of Mark Sykes, a witness to a gun attack on a bookmaker in south Belfast by loyalists, both policemen were put on trial.
The police confronted those present at a burial service because they believed the large turnout violated coronavirus restrictions.

Social media videos show police officers cuffing and arresting Mr. Sykes amid chaos.
Mr. Byrne was widely criticized in the wake of the occurrence, which caused a huge scandal at the time.
Mr. Byrne expressed regret for the PSNI’s handling of the situation at the time and announced the suspension of one officer and the transfer of another.
Mr. Byrne was already under scrutiny regarding his future after a huge data error exposed the private information of officers and fell into the hands of dissident republicans, and this week’s court verdict further added to the pressure he was under.

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