Chief Constable Matt Baggott chose his moment carefully to announce unilaterally a three year time limit for the work of the Historic Enquiries Team. The window just before a new financial year, a general election and the transfer of Justice powers to the Assembly gives him maximum leverage to put down a big marker. It boldly cuts across the Eames Bradley recommendation for a Legacy Commission lasting five years. The decision seems to exceed his operational independence. Although hes still a new boy, he must know he’s sticking his neck out with the parties. Is he putting pressure on the Executive to reach an early decision on Dealing with the Past? Do they put their money on policing the future or the past? Or is the past still a big part of the future?
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London