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Secretary of State announces appointment of new Independent Reviewer

The Secretary of State, Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP, has recently announced the appointment of a new Independent Reviewer

The Secretary of State, Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP, has recently announced the appointment of Dr Jonny Byrne as the Independent Reviewer of the exercised powers under the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 and National Security Arrangements.

Dr Byrne will replace Professor Marie Breen Smyth with effect from 1 February 2024.

Dr Jonny Byrne is currently a Lecturer in criminology and criminal justice, in the School of Criminology, Social Policy and Politics at Ulster University. He lectures on issues relating to policing and security, countering violent extremism and psychology within the criminal justice system.

He has completed a number of research projects on public attitudes to peace walls, paramilitary violence, young people’s participation in political violence, community experiences of public order policing in Northern Ireland, bonfires, and the manipulations of commemorations and celebrations in a contested society.


The role of the Independent Reviewer of Justice & Security is set out within the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007. The reviewer plays a key role in providing confidence that the powers are being closely scrutinised and used proportionately by the policing and legal system. 

The Independent Reviewer of National Security Arrangements provides assurances around the role of security services in Northern Ireland and their interactions with the PSNI.

Terms of appointment:

  • Length of appointment: Three years from 1 February 2024
  • Remuneration: £650 per day
  • Pension: The position is not pensionable
  • Time Requirements: 45 days per annum across both roles 

Political Activity:

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity in defined categories within the last five years to be made public. Dr Byrne has not been engaged in any political activity in the last five years.


The Commissioner for Public Appointments does not regulate this appointment.

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