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Jon Boutcher appointed chief constable of Police Service of Northern Ireland

Jon Boutcher has been appointed the new chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Mr Boutcher, who is the former chief constable of Bedfordshire Police, is no stranger to Northern Ireland, having led Operation Kenova, a series of historical investigations into murders during the Troubles.

An officer with 35 years' experience, most of it with the Metropolitan Police, he succeeds Simon Byrne in the PSNI's top job.

Mr Byrne resigned in September following a series of controversies, including a major data breach and the unlawful disciplining of two officers.

Morale in the force hit an all-time low when details of 10,000 police officers and staff were inadvertently posted online in August.

The unprecedented breach of data involved the surnames, initials, rank or grade, work location and departments of all police officers and staff.

The PSNI later confirmed that the list had fallen into the hands of dissident Irish republicans, who continue to target police officers.

Mr Byrne apologised for the "industrial scale breach of data that had gone into the public domain," describing it as an "unprecedented crisis".

Days later, it emerged that an officer's laptop and notebook had fallen from a moving vehicle, another breach of data.

Mr Byrne was already under pressure when a High Court judge ruled that two junior officers had been wrongfully disciplined.

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Mr Justice Scoffield said they had been disciplined over an arrest made at a Troubles commemoration, to appease Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein denied ever threatening to withdraw its support for the police service over the arrest, but unionists branded it "political policing".

First minister designate, Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill, congratulated Mr Boutcher on his new role.

She said on X (formerly Twitter): "Wishing Jon Boutcher well on his appointment as new Chief Constable.

"Huge job of work ahead to rebuild trust and confidence in the police with public, and PSNI officers. Focus must be on delivering an efficient and effective policing service that works and is representative of everyone in society."

Mr Boutcher, who had been serving as interim chief constable for a month, faces many challenges, notably budget cuts and officer morale.

With the terrorist threat still deemed 'severe' in Northern Ireland, his new job is regarded as one of the toughest in policing.