New Independent Chair appointed to Northern Ireland Search and Rescue Group

Date published: 12 September 2019

The Department of Justice has announced the appointment of Simon Hutchinson as the new Independent Chair of the Northern Ireland Search and Rescue Practitioners Group.

NI Search and Rescue vehicle

Mr Hutchinson has been appointed to the position following an open recruitment competition.  He took up the post on September 9th for a period of three years. 

Peter May, Permanent Secretary for the Department of Justice, said: “The Northern Ireland Search and Rescue Practitioners Group has a full and challenging programme of work.  The Independent Chair has an important role to play in the delivery of this and I have no doubt that Simon Hutchinson can help achieve its objectives and build on the good work already progressed by the Practitioners Group through the leadership and guidance of the previous chairperson.”

“I congratulate Mr Hutchinson and wish him every success in the role.” 

Notes to editors: 

1.  The Department of Justice assumed policy responsibility for land and inland water search and rescue (SAR) in Northern Ireland in 2011.  To ensure the over-arching SAR framework for Northern Ireland was appropriately governed and structured, the Department launched a strategic review which was completed in May 2014. 

2. One of the recommendations flowing from the review was the establishment of a Northern Ireland Search and Rescue Practitioners Group, which would have an Independent Chair and which would deal with the operational aspects of search and rescue provision.

3.  Following a public appointment process, conducted in line with CPANI guidance and with a CPANI independent representative on the panel, Simon Hutchinson has been appointed as the Independent Chair.  This is a non-remunerated post. 

4.  Pen Picture - Simon Hutchinson

Simon Hutchinson is at present Northern Ireland’s head of security for one of the UKs largest retail organisations. He previously held a senior position in the public sector with a proven delivery record in the leadership and management of resources and projects. He also has extensive experience in public safety both at a local and national level.

Simon has wide-ranging experience in the NI Financial Sector working particularly on the safety and security of its people and assets.  He currently sits as Chairperson of the NI Security Banking Forum.

Simon holds an Honours Degree in Human Resource Management from the Ulster University, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Development and is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

5.  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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