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TV | PSNI – 20 Years On The Frontline


Stephen Nolan.



At the stroke of midnight on Saturday 3 November 2001 the Royal Ulster Constabulary became the Police Service of Northern Ireland.


Twenty years on, Stephen Nolan examines how and why this change came about and looks back at some of the newsworthy, controversial and, at times, traumatic events that have marked the first two decades of the PSNI.



The hour-long film charts the era leading up to the change following the republican and loyalist ceasefires, the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the Patten Report and the political debate which took place before the recommendations from the report were enforced.


Judith Gillespie, PSNI Deputy Chief Constable 2009-2014.

Dolores Kelly MLA, SDLP Policing Board Member.

Simon Byrne & Sir Ronnie Flanagan walking in the PSNI Memorial Garden.

Alan McQuillan, Acting Deputy Chief Constable PSNI, 2002-2003.



The film features interviews with members of the force who have served in both its junior and senior ranks.


Stephen speaks to police officers who have lost family members, colleagues and suffered injuries as a result of their service and to former Chief Constables Sir Ronnie Flanaghan, Sir Hugh Orde, Sir George Hamilton and current Chief Constable Simon Byrne on the big issues they faced during their tenure.


Stephen Nolan.

Gerry Murray, Superintendent PSNI.

Peter Olphert, RUC/PSNI officer since 1991.

Roy McComb Chief Superintendent PSNI 2009-2014.



The film hears from individuals who support it and those who challenge the current role and actions of the service in Northern Ireland. It explores the allegations of collusion which have been made against the RUC and the accusations of two tier policing against the PSNI following criticism of the policing of flag protests and the PSNI’s enforcement of Covid 19 regulations.


The film which will contain some new revelations on policing over the past 20 years will also feature an interview with the architect of the PSNI, Lord Patten whose recommendations within the Patten Report, published in 1999, were the blueprint for the new service.



PSNI – 20 Years On The Frontline

Monday 24 January

BBC One Northern Ireland, 10.35pm


Sir Hugh Orde, PSNI Chief Constable, 2002-2009.

Sir Ronnie Flanagan, Chief Constable RUC/PSNI, 1996-2002.

Simon Byrne, PSNI Chief Constable.

Jim Gamble.

Dr. William Matchett, RUC/PSNI officer.