A former Constable of Cheshire Police, Simon Byrne, has been offered the role of Chief Constable of the PSNI.

He is expected to take up the role on 1 July when George Hamilton retires.

Simon Byrne was suspended from his Cheshire role in 2017 following accusations of bullying.

But after an investigation costing a reported £350,000 he was cleared of the misconduct charges.

He had previously served as a Deputy Chief Constable with Greater Manchester Police and an Assistant Commissioner with the Metropolitan Police.

The PSNI is staffed by almost 7,000 police officers. The equivalent figures for Cheshire is 2,000 constables.

The incoming chief constable is the 3rd outsider to be offered the PSNI role.

Hugh Orde and Matt Baggott were outside appointments.

George Hamilton, who completes his five year term next month, was appointed from within the ranks of the PSNI.

The job interviews were conducted by 3 independent and 4 political members of Northern Ireland’s Policing Board.

They interviewed four candidates - the PSNI’s Deputy Chief Constable, Steven Martin; a PSNI Assistant Chief Constable, Mark Hamilton; the outgoing Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police, Jon Boucher and the successful applicant, Simon Byrne.

George Hamilton steps down at the end of next month.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney welcomed Mr Byrne’s appointment.

In a statement tonight he assured Mr Byrne of the full support and cooperation of the Irish Government.

He said, "I am sure that the excellent cross border cooperation between the PSNI and An Garda Síochána will continue to be built on."

Anne Connolly, who chairs the Northern Ireland Policing Board said, "Policing is one of Northern Ireland's most important public services with the community rightly expecting the highest standards from its officers and staff.

"Mr Byrne brings a wealth of strategic and operational policing experience to the role - he has 36 years of policing experience, 21 years as a chief officer and almost eight as a chief constable serving the Metropolitan Police, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire."