Judith Gillespie

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Judith Gillespie
Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland
In office
1 June 2009 – 31 March 2014
Preceded by Paul Leighton
Succeeded by Drew Harris
Acting Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland
In office
August 2009 – September 2009
Preceded by Sir Hugh Orde
Succeeded by Sir Matt Baggott
Personal details
Born Judith Kyle Gillespie
1962/1963 (age 53–54)
Citizenship United Kingdom
Nationality Northern Irish
Children Two
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Profession Police officer

Judith Kyle Gillespie, CBE (born 1962/1963) is a retired senior police officer. She was the Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland between June 2009 and March 2014.

Early life and education[edit]

Gillespie was born and raised in North Belfast.[1] She completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in public policy and administration in 1992. She went on to study for a Masters degree in applied criminology at the University of Cambridge, which she completed in 2005.[1][2]

Police career[edit]

Gillespie began her policing career when she joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in 1982 as a police constable.[3] During her initial training at Enniskillen, she was awarded the Baton of Honour.[2] She had previously been rejected by the RUC because of her gender.[4] She spent her early career policing the Greater Belfast area.[5] She was promoted to chief inspector in 1997, superintendent in 1999, and chief superintendent in 2002.[2]

In 2003, she attended the Strategic Command Course at the Police Staff College, Bramshill.[6] In 2004, she was appointed assistant chief constable.[7] This made her the first female to reach chief officer rank in the Police Service of Northern Ireland.[6][3] On 1 June 2009, she was promoted to deputy chief constable, becoming the second most senior police officer in Northern Ireland.[5][7] She served as acting chief constable from August 2009 to September 2009.[8] In March 2011, she was given the opportunity to retire early with a £500,000 severance package but choose to continue her career.[4] She retired from the police on 31 March 2014.[7]

A keen sportswoman, she played hockey and squash for the RUC.[9] In 2013, when the World Police and Fire Games was held in Belfast, Northern Ireland, she served as the Chair of the Board.[10][11]

Personal life[edit]

Gillespie is married and has two daughters.[12]

She took up running after the death of the sister-in-law from cancer. She has completed the Belfast Marathon relay, Race for Life and the Great North Run, raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.[9]


Gillespie was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours for public service.[13] In the 2014 Birthday Honours, she was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to policing and the community in Northern Ireland.[14] In July 2012, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Queen's University Belfast.[8]


  1. ^ a b Young, David (13 March 2014). "I'm leaving PSNI on my own terms, insists Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Policing Board: Deputy Chief Constable appointment confirmed". Police Board of Northern Ireland. 28 May 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Judith Gillespie, NI's most senior policewoman, to retire". BBC News. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Young, David (13 March 2014). "Judith Gillespie: I'll sue over vile online sex slurs says Northern Ireland's most senior woman police officer". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "JUDITH GILLESPIE OBE" (pdf). British Association for Women in Policing. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "First female PSNI Assistant Chief Constable appointed". Northern Ireland News. 4NI. 18 May 2004. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Deputy chief constable Judith Gillespie to retire". Belfast Telegraph. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie OBE". Police Service of Northern Ireland. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Bell, Stephanie (23 May 2014). "Judith Gillespie: The ex-cop and sports boss on the run with Mary". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "WPFG 'best and friendliest ever', says president of games". BBC News. 10 August 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Board of Directors". 2013 WPFG. World Police & Fire Games. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Beattie, Jilly (20 May 2004). "I went from the Shopping Squad to Super Nintendo to first female Assistant Chief Constable; JUDITH'S HISTORIC RISE TO TOP PSNI POST.". The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "(Supplement) no. 59090". The London Gazette. 13 June 2009. pp. 9–10. Retrieved 07 March 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  14. ^ "(Supplement) no. 60895". The London Gazette. 14 June 2014. p. b9. 

External links[edit]

Police appointments
Preceded by
Paul Leighton
Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland
June 2009 to March 2014
Succeeded by
Drew Harris
Preceded by
Sir Hugh Orde
(Acting) Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland
August 2009 to September 2009
Succeeded by
Matt Baggott