PSNI chief constable: Jon Boutcher and Bobby Singleton complete interviews

Jon Boutcher and Bobby Singleton
Jon Boutcher (left) and Bobby Singleton have applied for the vacancy created by Simon Byrne's resignation

Interviews for Northern Ireland's next chief constable have been completed.

Jon Boutcher, who has been in the role as caretaker since last month, will be interviewed along with Bobby Singleton, an assistant chief constable.

Whoever is successful will become the Police Service of Northern Ireland's (PSNI) sixth leader in 22 years.

The interviews were conducted in Belfast by a five-person panel of Policing Board members and involves a presentation.

It is not clear whether the successful candidate will be announced later on Monday or on Tuesday.

The panel comprises board chairwoman Deirdre Toner, independent member Mukesh Sharma and Stormont assembly members Gerry Kelly of Sinn Féin, Joanne Bunting of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the Alliance Party's Nuala McAllister.

An external policing advisor will be on hand to provide advice but will not be involved in scoring or decision making.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris will then be asked to approve the appointment in the absence of a Stormont justice minister.

Deirdre Toner
Policing Board chairwoman Deirdre Toner will be one of the panellists who will choose the next PSNI chief

Mr Boutcher, 58, was an unsuccessful applicant for the post in 2019.

Having retired as chief constable of Bedfordshire, he went on to lead Operation Kenova, a unit investigating cases linked to the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Mr Singleton, 44, has risen through the PSNI's ranks after joining in 2001 as part of its first class of recruits after it replaced the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

He is a former head of its paramilitary crime taskforce.

Simon Byrne walks past journalists, TV cameras and microphones days before his resignation as PSNI chief constable
Simon Byrne quit as PSNI chief constable after a series of crises within the force

The vacancy was created by the resignation of Simon Byrne in September.

He quit after a series of controversies, including a court ruling that two junior officers were unlawfully disciplined and a number of data breaches within the force.

The position carries a salary of £220,000 and is considered one of the most demanding jobs in UK policing.

The PSNI has a staff of more than 9,000 and a budget of about £800m.

The contract will be for an initial five years but can be extended thereafter.