Today’s news that the PSNI’s C2 have removed a significant number of non-former RUC HET staff to address the outworking of the report into Bloody Sunday has raised the need for a properly resourced process to once and for all address the past.
Speaking on hearing the news Relatives for Justice Director Mark Thompson said:
‘The HET is not capable of the task required in terms of addressing the past. They are not structurally or operationally independent of the PSNI.
‘This underlines the need for a transparent, accountable and independent truth recovery process free from the interference of political policing and manipulation of legacy issues that have in general characterized the approach to date by the PSNI.
‘The PSNI have a vested interest in these affairs and this is probably best illustrated through its Legacy Unit which is staffed by former members of RUC Special Branch. This unit also controls much of the information sought in respect of legacy killings by the HET, especially collusion and direct state killings.
‘The reality is that this latest move will see cases currently being examined now put on hold and that those cases will more than likely be killings by the British Army. Importantly this development will leave many families confused adding further to their anxiety and stress. This is unfair and not acceptable.
‘It is also being seen by some families as manipulative and quite possibly aimed at sowing the seeds of confusion on the eve of a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC) into complaints about systemic HET failings.
‘The only acceptable approach is for both governments, and all parties, to now face up to their obligations and put in place a comprehensive truth recovery process which is not driven by vested interests from any side or any actor to the conflict.
‘The best way forward is to put the report by the Consultative Group on the Past back on the table.’ENDS
A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC) into the HET s expected to be published next Wednesday.
This report follows criticisms of the HET overall, its lack of independence and operational control.