Sir John Hermon
|Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary|
|Preceded by||Sir Kenneth Newman|
|Succeeded by||Sir Hugh Annesley|
|Born||23 November 1928|
Castletown, Northern Ireland
|Died||6 November 2008 (aged 79)|
Bangor, Northern Ireland
|Spouse(s)||Jean Webb (1954–1986) |
Sylvia Paisley (1988–2008)
'Jack' Hermon was born in Castletown, Islandmagee, County Antrim, to William Rowan Hermon, a building contractor, and his wife, Agnes. He had a grammar school education and gave up an early career in accountancy to join the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1950.
After joining the RUC, 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. An anonymous former interrogator has claimed that "The new chief constable was completely against any mistreatment of prisoners whatsoever...we started to detect a change .... straight away." Hermon is thought to have believed that the allegations of mistreatment were harming relations between the RUC and the wider communities. He retired in 1989, and became the longest-serving Chief Constable of the RUC.
One analysis has argued that Hermon's actions in charge of the RUC 'transformed it into a more independent force, shorn of its worst sectarian sympathies' and that these reforms also had the effect of allowing the RUC to be better able to support the peace process in the 1990s than it would have been otherwise. After retiring, he became, in June 1989, a consultant to a private security company.
He married Jean Webb in 1954, and had a son and a daughter before she died of cancer in 1986. In 1987 he met Sylvia Paisley who had written an academic paper critical of Hermon's conduct in an employment case brought by female RUC officers. They married and had two sons. After his death, his widow, Lady Hermon, was, from 2005 to 2010, the sole Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Member of Parliament. From 2010 she was re-elected as an independent, with an increased majority. She held the North Down seat from 2001 to 2019.
|Order of the British Empire (OBE)||
|Knight Bachelor (Kt)|
|Order of St John|
|Queen's Police Medal (QPM)|
|Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal||
|Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal|
|Royal Ulster Constabulary Service Medal|
- Holding the Line (1997 autobiography)
Kenneth Leslie Newman
| Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary
- Obituary, timesonline.co.uk; accessed 22 June 2017.
- Owen Bowcott. "Obituary: Sir John Hermon". the Guardian. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
- Ian Cobain 'Inside Castlereagh: 'We got confessions by torture' (The Guardian, Monday, 11 October 2010)
- "MP Lady Sylvia Hermon quits Ulster Unionists". BBC News. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
- "Former police chief Hermon dies". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
- "Farewell to Sir Jack Hermon". Belfast Telegraph. 10 November 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2011.