Families Have the Right To Know – RFJ Calls on PSNI to Release Completed HET Reports

Relatives for Justice (RFJ) has revealed details of requests it has made to the Policing Board and PSNI to lift the suspension on completed Historical Enquiries Team (HET) reports from being handed over to families.


The embargo on handing over reports was put in place as an initial measure following a damning report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC) last July that highlighted major shortcomings of the HET.


Relatives for Justice said that the Policing Board played a very important and significant role on behalf of families in having the HMIC conduct an inspection but that the position adopted in respect to not handing over reports was now having a negative effect on families awaiting receipt of their final report.


Since July last RFJ have met with the Policing Board several times calling for the HET to be replaced by a proper independent investigative mechanism free from the interference of the PSNI.


RFJ also requested that all reports completed up to the date of when the HMIC findings were published and the HET suspended be handed over arguing that it was unfair to families who had waited many years on a report that was now sitting in a drawer somewhere within the HET offices.


RFJ Director Mark Thompson said;

“Families bereaved by conflict have the Right to Know[1] the circumstances of the killings of their loved ones. This Right particularly extends to all documentation relating to the killing. We believe there are as many as 40 completed reports up until the July 2013 period not yet handed over to families. There are also supplementary reports in response to further issues raised by families following the initial reports they received. We believe that these too are completed.


“From the families’ perspective they understand fully that the HET process was flawed but that doesn’t lessen the fact that they simply want these reports irrelevant of them being good, bad or otherwise. It’s a very human thing to want to know what a particular report says about those closest to you who were killed. It is a human right and the Policing Board I believe now support the position of families receiving their reports.


“Families have spent many years engaging the process and have invested so much emotionally and physically and to then be told they can’t receive the completed report into their loved ones death is upsetting to say the least.


“We again call on the Policing Board and ultimately the Chief Constable to hand over these reports to families and afford them the dignity they deserve.” ENDS


[1] United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 9/11