| Jack Hermon |
Sir John Jack Hermon with his wife Sylvia and their son Rober
|Born||23 November 1928|
Castletown, Northern Ireland
|Died||6 November 2008 (Age 79)|
Bangor, Northern Ireland
Sir John Charles Hermon was the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary from 1980–1989.
After joining the RUC in 1950, he was posted in various parts of western Northern Ireland, including Eglinton, Coalisland and Strabane, before sitting his sergeant's examinations. He was the first RUC officer to attend the advanced policing course at the British police training college in Bramshill in England in 1963. He became Chief Constable in 1980, after an attachment to Scotland Yard. As Chief Constable, he changed the interview processes of terrorist suspects at the Castlereagh interrogation centre.
The Stalker Affair
A row over police "shoot-to-kill" operations in County Armagh during 1982 and the subsequent inquiry by the deputy chief constable of Manchester, John Stalker, overshadowed his period as Chief Constable. The two senior policemen clashed repeatedly.
The Stalker Affair, which fuelled allegations of official cover-ups and conspiracies, degenerated into a vendetta between the chief constable and the media. Despite efforts to dissuade him, Hermon privately pursued three legal actions to clear his name.
In 1984, Stalker had been appointed to investigate the shooting by police of six men - five of them republican suspects. He had striven to obtain access to a secret MI5 tape recording of one of the shootings. But he was abruptly removed from the inquiry and suspended for supposedly consorting with criminals - only to be reinstated three months later.
Hermon was said to have tossed Stalker's report across the room in fury when he read the document. Stalker later revealed that, for five months, Hermon had refused to allow him to send a report, recommending the prosecution of a number of officers, to the director of public prosecutions. But Stalker did not believe Hermon had been entirely responsible for the obstructions. "I think the architects of my removal were on this side of the water," he told a court in 1995.
After retiring, he became, in June 1989, a consultant to Securicor, a private security company. Hermon suffered from Alzheimer's disease from at least 2004 until his death on 6 November 2008. After his death in 2008, his widow, Sylvia Hermon, was, from 2005 to 2010, the sole Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Member of Parliament, then she continued as an independent.