Matt Baggott: nice but a bit blancmangey



And so farewell, Matt Baggott. You were a good man – a Christian, by all accounts. But whether the post of Chief Constable requires one who’s prepared to turn the other cheek is a moot point. The perception for many of us was that your policing approach was less softly-softly than sitting duck. The sight of police being pelted with stones, bricks and petrol bombs by flag protestors, without apparent response, raised the thought in many nationalist and republican minds: if these had been republican bricks and petrol bombs, would the hurlers have received equally kid-glove treatment? Yes, your approach did result in some 600 people being charged, but in these things perception matters. The lasting perception many of us have is of your men being hammered, yobs dancing on your landrovers, and  illegal protests  ignoring police reminders of law-breaking as they marched through the centre of Belfast.

And then of course there was the Historical Inquiries Team, found to be seriously deficient  on matters where blame might have applied to the security forces. Plus Camp Twaddell, which goes on and on costing the public tens of thousands of pounds per week.

Yes, you kept protestors away from the G8 summit in Fermanagh and you got several millions pounds more to fund your police force. But the G8 summit represented some of the richest nations on earth; protest, had it occurred, would have been about the need for world wealth to be more equitably distributed. And while it’s good you got all that money, is that how we judge a Chief Constable’s effectiveness: that he or she can get money?

Finally, Matt, you do know that by announcing your impending retirement, you’ve transformed yourself into a lame duck Chief Constable. A sitting duck police service led by a lame duck Chief Constable. Mmm. You’re a good man, Matt, but a bad – OK, not bad – flawed Chief Constable. Anyway slan abhaile – safe home.

Now – who’s next?

11 Responses to Matt Baggott: nice but a bit blancmangey

  1. Cal January 23, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    So who’ll be our next English Chief Constable ?

  2. ANOTHER JUDE January 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    Goodbye Matt, pity you can`t take the hopeless Ms Villiers with you. As for your successor, is it too much to hope he/she might be an Irish Nationalist/Catholic? That would be a step towards equality. God knows we could do with even a step.

    • Jude Collins January 23, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      We may not know who will be next but we do know who won’t be next. Irish nationalist/republican: of COURSE you can apply. But you won’t get it. I’m open to bets on that

  3. ANOTHER JUDE January 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    The names being mentioned do not fill me with optimism, we will have a Muslim Chief Constable before we ever get a Catholic one.

  4. Argenta January 23, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    Is it not presumptuous to assume that a Catholic Chief Constable would necessarily be perfect?Those who are now critical of Matt Baggott forget that he was appointed by a Policing Board including the two main parties in the Executive.I seem to remember a Chief Constable called Jimmy Flanagan who was apparently a Catholic.Is the reality not that any C C will not please both sides all of the time?

  5. ANOTHER JUDE January 24, 2014 at 1:17 am #

    Jimmy Flanagan? I had to google him to be honest. I am not saying a Catholic CC would be perfect, whatever that means. I am only saying it is time to start implementing proper equality and having regular Chief Constables from the Catholic/Nationalist community would be a fairer reflection than the current practice.

  6. Virginia January 24, 2014 at 3:24 am #

    “is that how we judge a Chief Constable’s effectiveness: that he or she can get money?” Yes Virginia it is.

  7. NorthMunsterman January 24, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    Recruit the next PSNI CC from the Gardaí.

    – Satisfy unionist demands for increased co-operation between PSNI and the Gardaí
    – Satisfy Nationalist demands for parity of esteem

    As the “Hot Chocolate” *** hit song goes :

    “Everyone’s a winner – and that’s no lie ”

    *** You’ll remember that from your Disco dancing days, Jude :-))

  8. navanman January 24, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    Hi Jude.
    I suggest he handled the flag protest very well at the time and for dealing with future protests. Instead of knocking heads and shooting plastic bullets. He corralled them and let them shot and wail all they wanted until they exhausted them selves. Then using CCTV he used the rule of law in a calm but soul destroying way for the protesters. This in turn means future trouble makers know they wont get the confrontation they want but will get jail/fine in 6 months.

    • giordanobruno January 25, 2014 at 8:07 am #

      I think that is a fair point.
      For all the trouble the flag protesters caused with hundreds of angry people on the streets as well as angry residents reacting, no policeman protester or resident, man woman or child was killed. And if anyone had been killed, who would have been blamed? Matt Baggott.
      So maybe we should bear that in mind.

  9. BattMaggott January 25, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    Seems I didnt do such a bad job after all then! And I did put the RA into PsnIRA