Challenges facing NI policing - Baggott

Tuesday 22 September 2009 20.17
Matt Baggott - Successor to Sir Hugh Orde
Matt Baggott - Successor to Sir Hugh Orde

The new PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott has met the chair and vice-chair of the North's Policing Board on his first day in office.

The Board's chair, Barry Gilligan, said he was very welcome.

At a news conference at the Board's headquarters in Belfast Mr Baggott said there were a number of challenges facing policing.

One of them was to take neighbourhood policing further and to give a local policing service around the clock that people were keen to have.

Asked about the current threat from dissident republicans Mr Baggott said he was deeply saddened that some people were trapped in violence and intimidation and that they wanted to suck young people into trouble, but the vast majority did not want that, he believed.

On the question of whether policing and justice powers should be devolved, the Chief Constable said his accountability was to the politicians.

While refusing to be drawn, he said he was a great believer in local people and local accountability when it came to policing.

He said he had come to Belfast to serve the people of Northern Ireland on a five-year contract and he was there to do a job.

He has served in three other police forces.

On financing operations, he said he would be looking for an adequate budget over the next three to four years.

A major security operation was put in place across Northern Ireland for the arrival of the new PSNI chief.

Police intelligence suggests that the extremists are plotting attacks on Mr Baggott's first day at work, patrols have been stepped up and checkpoints established across the region.

The police crackdown was launched on Friday night after rioting broke out in Co Armagh following the jailing of three local dissidents on explosives charges.

Sporadic disorder continued throughout the weekend in Lurgan and Craigavon, with a number of vehicles hijacked and torched.

Separately, police investigating dissident republican activity in the North have arrested two men in Co Tyrone.

Detectives from the PSNI Crime Branch carried out a number of searches in the Dungannon area and arrested two males.