26 May 2006

Globe-trotting police chief clocks up 178 days away over two years

Belfast Telegraph

Orde on the world beat ...

26 May 2006

The life of a modern day Chief Constable is bound to be a high-profile jet-setting existence.

However, information released to the Belfast Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed just how much our own Chief Constable gets around.

In the last two years Sir Hugh Orde has been on duty for an impressive 604 days.

However the figures released to this paper show that he was working outside Northern Ireland on 178 of those days.

Last year alone Sir Hugh spent one third of his working days outside the province - he was away 99 days out of 296.

His globe-trotting has taken him to many parts of the world.

In 2004 and 2005 he spent 36 days in the US. Business there included White House receptions, speaking at the FBI Academy and meeting the House of Representatives.

He has also represented the police at events in Australia, Dubai and Iraq. In Dubai he spoke at a conference on Policing and Security and he visited Iraq with other Chief Constables to assess the policing situation.

The former senior Metropolitan Police officer was in England for more than 100 days on duty in 2004 and 2005.

Many of the Chief Constable's trips outside Northern Ireland relate to his work as a director of the Police National Assessment Centre, speaking engagements, training courses and seminars, meetings with other senior police officers, politicians and officials and the usual range of media interviews.

However, on five occasions he has also represented the PSNI at rugby internationals at Lansdowne Road in Dublin. In the past two years he has watched Ireland play South Africa, Argentina, England, New Zealand and Australia while on duty.

Similarly he also travelled to Dublin in September to represent the PSNI at the All-Ireland football final between Tyrone and Kerry.

Other events which have caused the Chief Constable to leave Northern Ireland have included meetings with Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, engagements at Scotland Yard and with the Stevens team and reports to the House of Commons and the Dail.

He was also in London last December at Buckingham Palace for his investiture.

In response to the Belfast Telegraph Freedom of Information request, police stated that on all the days when Sir Hugh is outside Northern Ireland on duty he is representing the PSNI.

They added: "He also has national responsibilities, including an important role as Director of the Police National Assessment Centre (PNAC) which devise, develop and run procedures designed to identify and select future police leaders."

When the Chief Constable is away the PSNI is commanded by his deputy, Paul Leighton.

He was on duty for 556 days during 2004 and 2005. He was working outside Northern Ireland on 57 of these days.

His list of trips is less expansive, although he did attend a five day FBI course in Norway in September 2004 and a four day police exchange trip to the US last year.

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