Chief Constable makes first mistake - Nesbitt

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Chief Constable makes first mistake - Nesbitt

Ulster Unionist member of the Policing Board, Mike Nesbitt MLA, has criticised the Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher QPM, for omitting the Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party from tomorrow's PSNI Graduation Ceremony.

Mike Nesbitt said:

"For the avoidance of doubt, I welcome the fact Michelle O'Neill MLA will attend in her capacity as First Minister. It is another historic first and entirely consistent with her party's support of the 1998 Belfast Good Friday and subsequent agreements. The last 25-plus years have been about normalisation, equality and respect for difference and I commend Ms O'Neill for accepting the invitation.

"I would have preferred to leave it on that positive note, but sadly, I cannot because the Chief Constable has decided to exclude one of the four leaders of the parties of the newly formed Northern Ireland Executive.

"Mr Boutcher has confirmed to me he invited the First Minister, the deputy First Minister and the Minister for Justice, representing three of the four parties of the Executive. 

"By definition, that is not inclusive. Nor is it encouraging the party with the fewest seats (one) at the Executive table to believe it will be treated with any due respect.

"Hansard records that last Saturday as the Assembly reconvened, my remarks focused on the need to rebuild relationships as the only solid foundation for political progress. 

"I regret this mis-step by the PSNI does nothing but damage in that regard and encourage the Chief Constable to reflect on how to repair the damage."