The Northern Ireland Policing Board has confirmed the appointment of Jon Boutcher QPM as the next Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) following receipt of approval by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. 

Boutcher had been appointed as the PSNI interim chief constable in October in the wake of the resignation of Simon Byrne. He had previously applied for the role in 2019 but lost out to Byrne.

The former Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police in the UK, Boutcher has over 35 years of experience as a police officer serving in a number of services as Assistant Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable, and Chief Constable.

In 2016, Boutcher was named the head of Operation Kenova, an investigation into several IRA murders and the role of the alleged British Army agent codenamed Stakeknife.

Northern Ireland Policing Board Chair Deirdre Toner said on Tuesday: “I am pleased to confirm that Jon Boutcher QPM is the successful candidate from this appointment competition. 

“Jon takes on the leadership role for one of the most important public sector services in Northern Ireland. He is clearly committed to the challenges ahead, to tackling crime and criminality and to providing a policing service that is community based and focused on delivery to the public. 

“There are also significant pieces of work to be progressed to manage and mitigate the serious financial pressures currently facing policing, and deal with confidence and other issues arising from recent events.  

"As a Board we look forward to working with him as Chief Constable in dealing with the challenges faced.”  

The Board added that the leadership position carries extensive responsibilities, and the appointment necessarily comprised a rigorous selection process. Based on the key principles of merit, fairness, openness, and transparency, independent scrutiny was incorporated at all stages of the process to provide added probity and assurance, the Board said.

The recommendation of the appointment panel was unanimously ratified by the Board at a special meeting and was subject to approval by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Policing Board confirms Jon Boutcher QPM as next Chief Constable of @policeserviceni  Read more below and here:

— NI Policing Board (@NIPolicingBoard) November 7, 2023

Northern Ireland's Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris congratulated Boutcher on the appointment:

Many congratulations to Jon Boutcher on his appointment as @PoliceServiceNI Chief Constable. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Jon & the PSNI's senior leadership team, who have a wealth of experience and are dedicated to keeping the people of Northern Ireland safe

— Chris Heaton-Harris MP (@chhcalling) November 7, 2023

The PSNI has grappled with two scandals in recent months, including "an extremely serious" data breach in early August which was followed by a Northern Ireland High Court ruling that two junior PSNI officers were unlawfully disciplined for an arrest made during a Sean Graham's Bookmakers commemoration event on Belfast's Ormeau Road on February 5, 2021.

Upon being named interim PSNI chief in October, Boutcher said: "Whilst leading Kenova, I have worked with victims and families, multiple stakeholders and a range of partners across Northern Ireland, and of course the PSNI itself, so have a good understanding of the challenges the organisation faces and am acutely aware how distracting and frustrating recent events will have been for everyone.

"They now need a period of stability and to be allowed to get on with doing the job, and they have my full support in doing just that."