The PSNI Historic Enquiries Team is dead; Long live the Legacy Investigations Branch

There was a clue in the Chief Constable’s speech this morning to the Dignity and Rights conference. Addressing the NI Policing Board this afternoon, George Hamilton outlined how he planned to address his responsibilities for reviewing legacy cases.

LEGACY REVIEWS AND INVESTIGATIONS

In my October Report, I outlined the effective closure of HET as a result of the end of our temporary workers contract. As Chief Constable, I have a number of statutory responsibilities regarding the past. These include the duty to review cases and investigate where there is credible evidence; as well as our disclosure responsibilities including the requirements of coronial inquests.

HET will close on 31 December 2014 and Legacy Investigations Branch within Crime Operations will commence on 1 January 2015 – we are currently writing to the families who are affected to confirm these details. The new branch will be split into two separate areas of business, namely ‘Reviews’ and ‘Investigations’ and will assume responsibility for the work of HET, murder cases which took place prior to the establishment of Crime Operations Department in 2004 and for the continuation of Operation Redfield (On The Runs) and Operation Jennet (Bloody Sunday).

I have agreed a broad establishment for the new branch (under the leadership of a Detective Chief Superintendent) of approximately 70 officers and staff, however current resource and financial implications mean that it may take some time to get close to this figure.

As mentioned at previous Board meetings, I would welcome an independent scrutiny and assurance panel to examine the work of this branch, as recommended by the HMIC report into HET. It would be of great benefit to PSNI and to the families concerned if this panel was established by 1 January when the new arrangements will be operational, however I appreciate that this remains the responsibility of the Policing Board.

Sinn Fein are already criticising the new LIB unit for not being Article 2 compliant.

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  • kalista63

    This’ll be a boost for Jim Wilson’s career. Hopefully, the boys in Moint Vernon enjoyed those few months of relaxation.

  • Tacapall

    Former RUC special branch officers investigating RUC special branch terrorism, Im sure no stone will be left unturned in bringing former police officers to account for their actions. I am absolutely certain victims of RUC collusion will wait a long long time for any justice while former RUC special branch officers are the driving force of any historical investigations.

  • Framer

    The inquests will not end until everyone of the 3,000 already held are re-opened. And to any useful purpose apart from lining lawyers’ pockets and attempting to rewrite history turning the perpetrators into victims?
    Lucky we don’t live in the US Gary.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I wonder why SF would want to undermine police investigations into the past …

  • Morpheus

    How is anyone supposed to have any faith in the objectivity and impartiality of the investigations? These investigators could be the straightest arrows in the PSNI and could investigate the cases with the full rigors with which they deserve but what’s the point if there is going to be doubt about the objectivity and impartiality of the investigative process? Surely most if not all cases will be appealed on those grounds adding the additional costs that come with that? The PSNI are opening themselves up to accusations of coverup in this no-win situation for them which will effect public confidence.

    When he says “approximately 70 officers and staff” – anyone know if this ‘staff’ is accountable to the same high levels as the officers or are the outside the remit of the Policing Board?

  • Simonsays

    I tell you if these ridiculous “Historical Inquiries” ever stop, the legal profession in Northern Ireland will consist entirely of filling in the paperwork to make a claim off of a planned whippers.

  • chrisjones2

    I assume that about 69 of them will be focused on crimes that SF wish to complain about and 1 (still to be recruited) on the Crimes of SFs associates.Cant disturb the peace process dontcha know

  • chrisjones2

    ….or the present

    I cant possibly think why and have no time to write more as I am off to the Cumman …sorry Charity ….meeting down at the old the Armalite and Ballot Box …now completely rebuilt with a £2m grant and renamed as the Mid Ulster Conflict Survivors and Rehabilitation Society