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There is a need for a positive view of policing in Northern Ireland based on an accredited human rights policing system with the officers known by the their names in the community, the Deputy Chief Constable of the PSNI Judith Gillespie told a meeting of the AEJ (Friday, March 29th). And the focus of this aim should not be diverted by events, no matter how tragic, she said.

Speaking at her last official event before retirement, the Deputy Chief Constable said there had been huge changes in Northern Ireland during her time in the force and, in particular, during her last 10 years as a serving senior officer. She had never thought she would she the day when, for example, the Queen would come to Dublin and say some words in the Irish language, Northern Ireland would host the G8 Summit or Londonderry would be the EU City of Culture.

Confidence in the policing system, she said was vital if it was to succeed long term and there has to be equality and respect for all. In order to succeed, leaders have to visible and one can’t lead if you are silent and not seen she emphasised.

But there continues to be many difficulties, she said. The current Northern Ireland criminal system was not designed to handle 3,000 unsolved investigations, for example.

On a personal level, she said she had been the victim of insidious and very offensive insults on social media but she was not deflected by these. On the contrary, she is a fan of social media and said the PSNI has 250,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.

She said she followed the five ‘Fs’ of Faith, Friends, Family, Fitness and Fun which she found to be a good philosophy for life and while she was returning to be a civilian again, she still had much more to give to society.

And she quoted the advice of Shakespearean character Polonius to his son Laertes in Hamlet: “To thine own self be true” (Hamlet, Act 1, scene 3)