Stakeknife: PSNI seek resources to conduct an investigation into 53 murders…

A couple of things worth noting about the PSNI’s decision to bring in detectives to investigate 53 murders involving the state agent known as Stakeknife. Vincent Kearney lays out the analysis of the first, the assembly of a special task force comprising of up to 50 detectives from police forces from across the UK:

It is understood Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable George Hamilton is considering the option of using detectives from other police forces in an attempt to secure the support of relatives of Stakeknife’s alleged victims, who have called for a fully independent investigation.

No single police force in England, Scotland or Wales is likely to be willing to release the number of detectives needed for the case.

The PSNI is expected to advertise for experienced detectives throughout Great Britain to apply to join a special major investigation team on secondment. The team will report directly to Mr Hamilton, who will report to the Northern Ireland Policing Board about its activities.

Conservative estimates suggest that it will cost up to £12.5m over a five year period. Interestingly the Chief Constable in interview on Newsline this evening suggested that whilst the investigation would be looking allegations against Stakeknife, it would be looking all the murders associated with the IRA’s internal security unit.

The extra money is just the first hurdle that will need to be cleared. Recruitment of the requisite detectives is another. As Kearney notes:

Police forces throughout the UK are facing significant budget cuts and may not have sufficient resources to allow officers to go on secondment.

There’s a fuller programme on Spotlight tonight, well worth catching up with…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty