Ronnie Flanagan

Sir Ronald Flanagan GBE QPM (born 25 March 1949) is a retired senior British police officer. He was the Home Office Chief Inspector of Constabulary for the United Kingdom excluding Scotland. Sir Ronnie was previously the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland since its creation in 2001 to 2002, and had been Chief Constable of its predecessor, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) until 2001.


Born in Belfast, Flanagan joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1970 while studying physics at Queens University. He served his first three years in the Queen Street barracks before achieving the rank of Sergeant and transferring to the Castlereagh station.[1] He was promoted to Inspector in 1976.[2] In 1982 he became a Detective Inspector in the Special Branch and was promoted the following year to Chief Inspector.[3]

In 1990 he took on the role of Chief Superintendent and transferred to the Police Staff College in Bramshil where he was the First Director of the Intermediate Command Course, progressing to the Senior Command Course.[2]

In 1992 he returned to duty with the RUC as Assistant Chief Constable of Operations, later taking on the responsibilities of Operational Commander for Belfast. He was appointed as head of Special Branch in 1994 and was promoted to Acting Deputy Chief Constable the year after. He became the Deputy Chief Constable proper in 1996, and when Chief Constable Hugh Annesley retired later that year, Flanagan succeeded him. When the PSNI was established in 2001, he served as Chief Constable until his retirement the following year.[3] He was replaced by Hugh Orde.

Since then he has served in Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and was appointed as HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in 2005. He was tasked to review the police arrangements in Iraq in December 2005 as part of the British involvement there. Following his retirement in December 2008, Denis O'Connor succeeded him as Her Majesty's Acting Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

After leaving British policing, Flanagan took up the post of strategic adviser to the Abu Dhabi Police Force,[4] a post he held for almost two years until he succeeded Lord Condon as chairman of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption & Security Unit (ACSU).[5]

2007 Police Ombudsman Report

On 22 January 2007 a report by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Nuala O'Loan, made findings of collusion between members of the proscribed paramilitary organisation, the Ulster Volunteer Force, and officers under the command of Flanagan.[6] The reports were acknowledged by the then Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde who apologised for the wrongdoing of his officers, and by the then British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Hain.

“While I appreciate that it cannot redress some of the tragic consequences visited upon the families of those touched by the incidents investigated in this report, I offer a whole-hearted apology for anything done or left undone." – Hugh Orde

Flanagan denied any wrongdoing or acting with any knowledge of the events in question. He agreed that these events had taken place. In the aftermath of the ombudsman's report, Irish nationalist politicians said he should be forced to reign from his job as Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

The Police Ombudsman had criticised Flanagan's role in the RUC inquiry into the Omagh Bombing of 1998, in a report published in 2001, to which his response was that he would "publicly commit suicide" if he believed her report was correct, though he later apologised for the form of words he used.[7]

Appearance before the Chilcot Inquiry

In July 2010, Flanagan appeared before the Iraq Inquiry into the UK's role in the Iraq War. In 2005, he had conducted a review into the UK's contribution to policing reform in Iraq.[8] As he gave evidence, Flanagan had to apologise for the amount of acronyms in his report on Iraq, which was presented to the government in January 2006:

"In my view, and I would like to almost apologise for the number of acronyms in this report – but it wasn't written with a view to being read publicly. It was written for the people who invented the acronyms..."[8]



  1. ^ "BBC News | NORTHERN IRELAND | Sir Ronnie's trip down memory lane". Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b "BBC News | NORTHERN IRELAND | Sir Ronnie Flanagan: A profile". Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b Melaugh, Dr Martin. "CAIN: People: Biographies of People Prominent During 'the Troubles' - F". Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Foreign post for Sir Ronnie Flanagan". Belfast Telegraph. 17 October 2008. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  5. ^ "Adviser to Abu Dhabi police is next ACSU chief". 5 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Police collusion report 'stands'". BBC News. 2 March 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2008.
  7. ^ "INTERVIEW: SIR RONNIE FLANAGAN (transcript)". BREAKFAST WITH FROST. BBC News. 7 April 2002. Retrieved 30 July 2008. DAVID FROST:...if indeed the ombudsman judgement was correct I would not only resign I would go and publicly commit suicide, was that a bit over the top, would you, would you use those words again? RONNIE FLANAGAN: No I certainly would not,...
  8. ^ a b "Flanagan's Evidence to Iraq Inquiry" (PDF).

Police appointments
Preceded by
Hugh Annesley
Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary
Succeeded by
Last incumbent
Preceded by
First incumbent
Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Colin Cramphorn (acting)
Preceded by
Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary for London and the East Region
Succeeded by
Denis O'Connor
Preceded by
Keith Povey
HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Denis O'Connor (acting)

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