Justice Minister appoints six independent members to the Policing Board

Date published: 11 March 2020

Justice Minister Naomi Long has announced the appointment of six new independent members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, effective from Wednesday, 1 April 2020.

Justice Minister Naomi Long has announced the appointment of six new independent members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, effective from Wednesday, 1 April 2020.

The Minister said; “I am delighted to announce six new independent members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board.  The work of the Policing Board is central to the policing architecture in Northern Ireland and those appointed will have a demanding role to play, dealing with many complex issues, during their tenure.

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.

I would like pay tribute to the five outgoing independent members for the significant contribution they have made to policing in Northern Ireland and their personal commitment to the Policing Board and its work”.

Following a Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland regulated public appointment competition for independent members, Naomi Long appointed the following independent Board members:


  • Michael Atkinson
  • Janet Gray
  • Edgar Jardine
  • Carmel McKinney
  • Francis McManus
  • Deirdre Toner

Notes to editors: 

1.  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.  It has a key role in securing the maintenance of an effective, efficient, impartial and accountable police service, which will enjoy the support of all sections of the community.

2.  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”.

3.  Appointment process

  • The procedure for the appointment of independent members is compliant with the Commissioner for Public Appointments Northern Ireland (CPANI) Code of Practice.  The independent appointments were made by the Minister of Justice taking account of her statutory duty under Part III of Schedule 1 to the 2000 Act to secure that, as far as is practicable, the membership of the Board is representative of the community in Northern Ireland.
  • The ten MLAs who serve on the Policing Board are nominated by their respective party nominating officers according to d’Hondt principles, as required by the 2000 Act.  These nominations are not subject to the CPANI Code of Practice.
  • The 2000 Act provides for the appointment of a Chair and Vice-Chair of the Policing Board.  Appointments to these offices are made by the Board from among its members in accordance with the Act and are not subject to the CPANI Code of Practice.
  • The appointment of the six independent members will be effective from 1 April 2020.  As part of the transition to a system of staggered appointments, three members will be appointed for a three year period and three for a four year period.


4.  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.  Details of the declaration by each appointee in relation to political activity are included below.

5.  Brief summary of independent members appointed


Mr Michael Atkinson

Michael Atkinson is a Chartered Engineer with more than 30 years’ experience in the Utilities Sector.  While working for Northern Ireland Electricity, he headed up a number of successful major business performance improvement and transformation initiatives, including the introduction of full retail competition in the Northern Ireland electricity market and the delivery of the Northern Ireland Government’s 2020 renewable energy targets.  Michael studied engineering at Queens University and went on to study business transformation and finance at the Ulster University and Harvard University, Boston. He holds a B.Sc., an MBA and an MSc in Corporate Leadership.  In his earlier years Michael was a keen sportsman, competing at international level in both athletics and weightlifting.

Political Activity – None

Dr Janet Gray, MBE

Before entering Public life, Janet Gray’s background was in sport and the charity sector.  She 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, President of Lady Taverners Northern Ireland and an Ambassador for Belfast Activity Centre and Concern Worldwide.  Through sport and her charity work, Janet has gained much experience and is very privileged to have met so many interesting people from different cultures from around the world.  After retiring out of International Tournament, she was elected in 2014 as a Councillor to Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, serving a five year term until 2019.  In 2015, Janet joined Libraries Northern Ireland, serving a four your term on the Board which she very much enjoyed.  Janet has learned a lot along the way and has completed a vast array of training courses which have given her a greater knowledge and understanding of working in the Public sector.  Janet is delighted to be appointed to the Northern Ireland Policing Board and hopes she can contribute and make a positive difference on the Board.


Political Activity – Canvassed on behalf of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).  Also elected as a Councillor to Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council between 2014 and 2019, representing the DUP.


Mr Edgar Jardine, CB

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.  Since retirement from the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Edgar has served in a number of non-executive roles.  He was a member of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland from 2012 to 2018.  He is a Transferors' representative (until 31 March 2020) on the Education Authority where he is Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee.  Edgar also serves as an Education Authority representative on the Board of Governors of Dundonald High School.  He has recently been appointed Chair of the Department of Finance’s Statistics Advisory Committee.

Political Activity – None.

Ms Carmel McKinney, OBE

Carmel McKinney has extensive experience and expertise as a strategic and operational leader.  She has a well demonstrated history of leading and managing organisations through change management programmes including strategic planning, organisational and business development.  She is a local and national award winner for her accomplished leadership and management including her work on diversity and inclusion which has been recognised in the Guardian Public Services Awards, The Times Diversity Champion Award, and the Institute of Directors Non-Executive Director of the Year.  She holds an OBE for her contribution to Education in Northern Ireland.  Carmel 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.

Francis (Frank) McManus

Frank worked in the telecommunications industry for over 40 years, leading and directing the broadband program in Northern Ireland for the past 15 years.  A knowledgeable and accomplished sales and marketing director, he has recently established a new consultancy service, specialising in formulating business plans for new start-ups.  Frank has gained significant experience as a member and chair of education, sporting, industry and charity boards.  Through all his roles, voluntary and professional, Frank has engaged with a multifaceted range of individuals, communities, leaders, organisations and stakeholders to understand their concerns and needs.

Political Activity – None

Ms Deirdre Toner

Deirdre Toner’s background is in Senior Leadership as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director positions in the voluntary and public sector, focusing on mental health and community development, with a strong focus on good governance, audit and accountability.  A graduate of public policy and later human rights law, Deirdre 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.  Deirdre lives in Newry near her grown up family and volunteers locally with bodies representing vulnerable groups.

Political Activity – None.

6.  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

7.  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 on 028 9037 8110.

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