A senior PSNI official is due to appear in court charged with offences, including drunk driving, linked to an incident on Christmas Eve.
Hief Superintendent Patricia Foy is due to appear in Lisburn Magistrates Court on January 19 for a collision with a vehicle.
She is believed to have hit a post and a parked car and was arrested and given a breath test before being charged with a range of traffic offences.
These include allegedly driving with excessive alcohol and driving without due care and attention.
Chief Superintendent Foy is the former head of protection services for the PSNI and worked with the close protection and emergency planning departments.
She was also head of the Professional Standards Division, the police unit responsible for disciplining officers accused of misconduct, and would have sat on panels to hear allegations against others.
The 56-year-old is one of the longest-serving female officers in the force.
The incident was not reported to the Police Ombudsman as Chief Superintendent Foy was off-duty at the time of the alleged offences.
She is believed to have been relieved of all duties pending the conclusion of the criminal charges, after which she will face an internal disciplinary hearing.
The PSNI said: “A 56-year-old woman has been charged with a range of traffic offences, including driving with excessive alcohol and driving without due care and attention, following a road traffic accident involving a vehicle in Lisburn on the afternoon of Saturday December 24.
“She is scheduled to appear in Lisburn Magistrates Court on Thursday 19 January 2023.
“Further comment would not be appropriate at this time.”
Chief Superintendent Foy last made headlines four years ago when the PSNI was brought before a tribunal over a change in policy regarding facial hair.
Constable Gordon Downey sued his employer after being told he had to shave off a mustache because it could interfere with the breathing apparatus.
Constable Downey was temporarily transferred from the predominantly male armed task force in February 2018 because he was unwilling to comply with a policy requiring officers to be clean-shaven.
At the time, Ms Foy, who was then working in the force’s Operations Policy Division, said: “When worn and used correctly, respiratory protective equipment (RPE) can prevent serious lung disease caused by inhaling dust and other pollutants.”
She added that a study by the Health and Safety Executive indicated that “as facial hair grows, the protection offered by a tight-fitting mask decreases.”
“As a result, a change has been made regarding officers and staff performing these roles. The updated policy requires officers and staff who may be required to wear RPE on a short-term basis to remain clean-shaven while on duty.”
The PSNI lost the case, a unanimous decision of the tribunal was that Constable Downey was discriminated against in violation of the Sex Discrimination (NI) Order 1976.
He was awarded over £10,000 for hurt feelings and loss of earnings.
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