Gillespie was born and raised in North Belfast. She completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in public policy and administration. She went on to study for a Masters degree in applied criminology at the University of Cambridge.
In 2003, she attended the Strategic Command Course at the Police Staff College, Bramshill. In 2004, she was appointed assistant chief constable. This made her the first female to reach chief officer rank in the Police Service of Northern Ireland. In June 2009, she was promoted to deputy chief constable, becoming the second most senior police officer in Northern Ireland. She served as acting chief constable from August 2009 to September 2009. In March 2011, she was given the opportunity to retire early with a £500,000 severance package but choose to continue her career.
She retired from the police on 31 March 2014.
Gillespie is married and has two daughters.
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.
Gillespie was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours for public service, and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to policing and the community in Northern Ireland. In July 2012, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Queen's University Belfast.
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- "Judith Gillespie, NI's most senior policewoman, to retire". BBC News. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- 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.
- "First female PSNI Assistant Chief Constable appointed". Northern Ireland News. 4NI. 18 May 2004. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- "Deputy chief constable Judith Gillespie to retire". Belfast Telegraph. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- "Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie OBE". Police Service of Northern Ireland. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
- Bell, Stephanie (23 May 2014). "Judith Gillespie: The ex-cop and sports boss on the run with Mary". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- "WPFG 'best and friendliest ever', says president of games". BBC News. 10 August 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- "Board of Directors". 2013 WPFG. World Police & Fire Games. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- 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.
- The London Gazette: . 13 June 2009. Retrieved 07 March 2014.
- The London Gazette: . 14 June 2014.
|Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland
2009 to 2014
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