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Six independent members appointed to Northern Ireland Policing Board

Members have to declare past political activity and are paid £15k per annum for four-days-a-month role
Published - 16/03/2020 By - Gary Mason

Justice Minister Naomi Long has appointed six new independent members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board who will start their role on 1 April.

The Minister said: "Since the Board’s inception in 2001, support for policing from all sections of the community has increased and it is important to build on this achievement.  The independent members are crucial to maintaining and building on that level of support.  The Board also has a significant role in overseeing the work of the National Crime Agency Northern Ireland.

"Having an effective and efficient Board which holds the Police Service of Northern Ireland to account is vital.

The Northern Ireland Policing Board is an independent public body established under the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (the 2000 Act).  The primary function of the Board is to hold the Chief Constable and police service publicly to account. 

The Policing Board consists of 19 members, ten of whom are nominated from among members of the Northern Ireland Assembly – “the political members”, and nine appointed by the Minister of Justice following open competition – “the independent members”.

The independent members of the Policing Board are appointed for a term of either three or four years.  Remuneration for an independent member is £15,000 per annum and the time commitment required is a minimum of four days per month.

The appointment of all independent members is made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees to be published. 

The six appointed independent members are as follows:

  • Michael Atkinson is a Chartered Engineer with more than 30 years’ experience in the Utilities Sector.  He has declared no political activity.
  • Dr Janet Gray, MBE was an elite athlete and is a four time World Disabled Water Ski Champion.  Janet is a founder member, former Chair and currently President of Disability Sports Northern Ireland,  After retiring from elite sport, she was elected in 2014 as a Councillor to Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, serving a five year term until 2019 representing the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). 
  • Edgar Jardine is a former Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and has served at senior level in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy first Minister and in the former Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, and as Interim Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Policing Board.  He was awarded the CB in 2012 for public service. He was a member of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland from 2012 to 2018. Political Activity – None.
  • Carmel McKinney, OBE is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, and a member of Women in Business NI.  She is a former member of the Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership.  Carmel is currently the chairperson of Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and has recently been appointed to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. Political Activity – None.
  • Frank McManus  worked in the telecommunications industry for over 40 years, leading and directing the broadband program in Northern Ireland for the past 15 years.   Political Activity – None
  • Deirdre Toner, a graduate of public policy and later human rights law, has over 30 years of experience of leading organisations, and 20 years of board and chair experience in the public sector in health and justice.  She is currently Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Commission until 2023. Political Activity – None.

The Board’s political members are:

  • John Blair MLA – Alliance Party
  • Tom Buchanan MLA – Democratic Unionist Party
  • Joanne Bunting MLA – Democratic Unionist Party
  • Alan Chambers MLA – Ulster Unionist Party
  • Trevor Clarke MLA – Democratic Unionist Party
  • Dolores Kelly – Social Democratic and Labour Party
  • Gerry Kelly – Sinn Féin
  • Liz Kimmins – Sinn Féin
  • Seán Lynch MLA – Sinn Féin
  • Mervyn Storey MLA – Democratic Unionist Party
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