NEW PSNI top cop George Hamilton is living under the shadow of a dissident republican death threat.
Belfast Daily can reveal that a 24-hour crack police gun guard has been posted at the Co Down home of the new PSNI Chief Constable.
Intelligence gleaned from informants has warned that Bangor-born Mr Hamilton is now a high profile target for attack.
Security has also been beefed up at his detached seaside home now dubbed ‘Fort George’ by insiders.
A security source said: “The threat to the chief is very credible and very real.
“A round-the-clock armed guard has now been put on his home for the protection of George and his family.”
Mr Hamilton takes over the £195,000-a-year job of Chief Constable from Matt Baggott who retires at the end weekend.
Matt Baggott lived in a luxury apartment inside the PSNI’s Brooklyn headquarters in east Belfast.
He flew home every fortnight to England on a private helicopter for security reasons.
Chief Constable Hamilton takes over the reins of the PSNI facing a a £10 million budget cut and also a fresh freeze on recruitment.
He also takes over the helm at the height of the marching season.
His first test of leadership will be over the Orange Order parade in north Belfast on Saturday, July 12.
It was banned by the Parades Commission from passing the flashpoint Ardoyne shop fronts on the Twelfth of July 2013 provoking two days of rioting.
Scores of loyalists have faced courts over the disturbances including one who is charged with trying to murder a PSNI riot cop with a ceremonial sword.
Loyalists have accused the Parades Commission of caving in to the threat of violence from Ardoyne republicans against the Ligoniel feeder parade.
They have set up a protest camp at Twaddell Avenue with nightly marches watched over by dozens of PSNI cops.
Officers from England, Wales and Scotland are already on standby to be drafted into Ulster to bolster PSNI numbers during next month’s marching season.
The Police Federation say the ‘mutual aid officers’ should be armed if they are used for frontline policing duties over the summer.