Independent Assessor of PSNI Recruitment Vetting appointed

Date published: 04 May 2021

Justice Minister Naomi Long has appointed Sir John Gillen as the Independent Assessor of PSNI Recruitment Vetting.

Justice Minister Naomi Long pictured

The Independent Assessor is responsible for reviewing a decision taken by the vetting panel that a candidate is unsuitable for appointment to the PSNI, if the candidate appeals the decision.

Announcing the appointment, Naomi Long said: “I welcome Sir John to the role of Independent Assessor of PSNI Recruitment Vetting, which plays a key part in the police recruitment process.  He brings a wealth of skills and experience to this important role.”

The appointment is for a term of four years and takes effect from 1st May 2021.  Sir John replaces Sir Patrick Coghlin, who stepped down from the position after his term as Independent Assessor expired on 30th April 2021.

Paying tribute to the outgoing Independent Assessor, the Minister said: “I would like to thank Sir Patrick for his excellent service and to wish him well for the future.”

This appointment has been made in accordance with the CPANI Code of Practice.

Notes to editors: 

1.  The Independent Assessor’s role is to review, on appeal, decisions of the PSNI vetting panel established by the Chief Constable to assess the suitability of any candidate for appointment as a police trainee or member of PSNI support staff and to make a report to the Chief Constable stating whether he agrees or disagrees with the decision of the panel and may make recommendations as he considers appropriate.

2.  The Independent Assessor is an independent statutory office holder appointed in accordance with the Police (Recruitment) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2001, as amended.

3.  Before making the appointment the Minister of Justice consulted the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

4.  The Regulations require that the person appointed as Independent Assessor shall have held judicial office within any part of the United Kingdom.

5.  Sir John is a retired Lord Justice of Appeal in Northern Ireland.

6.  He was called to the Bar in 1979, became a Queens Counsel in 1983, was appointed a High Court Judge in 1999 and joined the Court of Appeal in 2014.

7.  He was educated at the Methodist College, Belfast and at The Queens College, Oxford.

8.  Annual gross remuneration for the Independent Assessor is £8,250 payable monthly.  A per diem fee is also payable in line with the rate of fees for judicial office holders in Northern Ireland.

9.  All appointments are 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.  Sir John has indicated that he has no political activity. 

10.  All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office 028 9052 6444.  Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.

11.  The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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