PSNI chief Matt Baggott confident of work with 'friends in Catholic Church'

image captionMatt Baggott said the police and the church could work together in "many practical ways".

The PSNI's chief constable has told an Irish Catholic bishops' conference that he is confident of working with "friends in the Catholic Church".

Matt Baggott was speaking after the conference in County Louth in the Irish Republic.

He said he believed the police and the church could work together in "many practical ways".

It was the first time a senior PSNI officer had spoken to a high-level meeting of the Catholic Church.

Mr Baggot spoke to the church's social affairs committee on the subject of policing and faith.

He said the meeting had been "amongst friends" and offered the opportunity "to share our ambitions for policing" which included working with the most vulnerable in society.

The PSNI Gaelic football team and their garda counterparts made history on Friday with their first match at Croke Park in Dublin.

The chief constable said the match and his attendance at the conference were a "sign of how far policing has come".

The Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor said he was sure the symbolic significance of a chief constable speaking to Catholic bishops in Dundalk "would not be lost on anyone".

He said it was vital that people united in support of the police "north and south of the border".

Bishop Treanor encouraged Catholics to join the police service.

"I believe there is evidence of much growth in that support," he said.

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