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PSNI picks up pace on modernisation with new IT and promotions

Modernisation of Northern Ireland’s policing is being stepped up with an IT reboot and additions to his senior management team.

Significant upgrades to kit and new personnel have been announced by the Police Service for Northern Ireland.

The latest phase of normalisation has been revealed in two updates by PSNI revealing new laptops and final additions to the force’s top team.

An upbeat statement pledged “2022 will see us working in smarter and more intelligent ways”.

Around 4,000 officers will be getting Panasonic Rugged Toughbooks. They will be shared among Sergeants and Constables in Local Policing Teams (LPTs), Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs), Tactical Support Groups (TSGs), Road Policing Unit (RPU) and District Support Teams (DSTs).

Chief Constable Simon Byrne said; “One of our three key priorities is to build a Digital Police Service. We want to embrace technology to improve how officers can access information to make better smarter real time decisions.  We want to speed up how we collect and capture evidence and improve our service to victims and witnesses of crime and incidents.”

It's just the latest development by the force which, partly due to the return to power-sharing in the NI Assembly, is rapidly rolling out changes that move operations closer to normalisation.

Other initiatives have included community officers getting bikes for patrols, closure of military-era police stations and partnership working to support children who have witnessed domestic violence.

CC Byrne said the IT upgrade would also help shift the force further into the digital era: “The new rugged laptops will enable officers to access systems remotely whilst away from their station enabling them to spend more time on patrol and out working with their local community keeping people safe.

“We are committed to maintaining and investing new technology, infrastructure and projects that are key to maintaining our operational effectiveness and advancing our programme of business change. Digitalised policing and further investment in technology will make it easier for the public to make contact with the police wherever they are in the country and enable us to make better use of digital intelligence and evidence,” he added.

The last piece of the modernisation programme - begun with the appointment of CC Byrne in 2019 – is the appointment of two new Assistant Chief Officers and two Assistant Chief Constables  to the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Service Executive Team.

Mark McNaughten has been appointed as Assistant Chief Officer for Corporate Services and Aldrina Magwood as Assistant Chief Officer for Strategic Planning and Transformation.

Mr McNaughten, a former KPMG accountant, has been with the force since 2011 and previously worked for other NI agencies.

The pair will now have to drive an estate overhaul and manage budget constraints as well as the complex problems of delayed officer pay rises.

Their most pressing priority is ensuring the force gets the finances to enable the Chief's demand for extra officers.

Bobby Singleton and Chris Todd have been appointed as new Assistant Chief Constables. Mr Singleton was one of the PSNI’s first recruits and has extensive experience of community policing.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “Following a competitive selection process by the Board, I am delighted to welcome four new people into these senior roles.

“Each person brings fresh talent and experience to our team.  This will support our plans for service modernisation and help us to deliver on the ambitions within our Policing Plan.”

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