Mayhew sacks Ulster police chairman

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The Independent Online
The chairman of the Northern Ireland Police Authority was yesterday sacked following a long-running dispute which has left the body in some disarray.

Differences of opinion on policing and openness appear to have combined with personality clashes. Sir Patrick Mayhew, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, sacked the authority chairman, Belfast solicitor and former Alliance Party politician David Cook, at a meeting at Stormont Castle after he refused to resign. A leading member of the authority, journalist and author Chris Ryder, was similarly sacked.

The infighting and disagreement have dragged on for so long that some resignations or removals from the body that has general oversight over the Royal Ulster Constabulary had come to seem inevitable.

Mr Cook and Mr Ryder are generally perceived as modest reformers. Their approach failed, however, to win over a majority of authority members.

Meanwhile, Unionist politicians were alarmed at reports of proposals such as dropping the flying of the Union flag on police stations and abolishing the oath sworn by constables.