Northern Ireland

Thirty apply to be next police ombudsman

Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson
Image caption Al Hutchinson stepped down as police ombudsman in January

About 30 people have applied for the vacant post of police ombudsman for Northern Ireland.

First Minister Peter Robinson revealed the amount of interest at the assembly.

Al Hutchison stepped down from the role in January after criticism of the performance of his office.

Civil servant Colin Lewis was appointed interim chief executive of the police ombudsman's office and he will stay in place until a new ombudsman is found.

The first minister revealed details of the recruitment of Mr Hutchinson's successor following a question by the DUP's Paul Givan.

He said the selection process was well under way and about 12 people had been interviewed for the job.

The first minister also paid tribute to the outgoing ombudsman for his work in the difficult position.

Mr Hutchinson became the second police ombudsman for Northern Ireland when he succeeded Nuala O'Loan in 2007.

In 2011, three independent reports were highly critical of the work being carried out by the ombudsman's office.

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