Speaking in response to today’s news that the Policing Board has no confidence in the leadership of the HET in light of yesterday’s damning report by HMIC, Relatives for Justice has issued the following statement;
‘Removing the HET Director and senior staff, even removing the Chief Constable will not suffice in addressing the fundamental and systemic problems that lie at the very heart of the HET.
‘Such actions would be superficial and cosmetic as the real problem rests with the leadership and intelligence section of the PSNI that in effect created, oversaw and covered the illegal policy practice of the HET in respect of killings by the British Army.
‘The facts are that this policy was overseen by the Chief Constable even though he was aware of this illegal practice since coming into office. His Assistant Chief Constables were aware of it since at least 2009.
‘Such disregard for the rule of law on the part of new policing at the highest levels has clearly demonstrated to families that the PSNI cannot be allowed to reinvestigate these killings. They cannot be trusted.
‘Transferring British Army killings to the PSNI will result in similar tactics aimed at protecting soldiers from prosecution with the continued practice of state impunity for state actions.
‘In order that the British government meet their investigative obligations they must create an independent body similar to the Police Ombudsman to examine British Army killings.
‘Such a body should have international judicial oversight.
‘Families demand nothing less.
‘Other families from across the community are now also asking the question if this is what was happening in regard to British Army killings then what is going on in killings by paramilitaries in which agents are involved and culpable?
‘Noting that after 7-years of examining hundreds of paramilitary killings the HET have yet to say that there has been collusion in any killing, families who have long suspected collusion in the killings of their loved ones are today asking what is being covered up in these killings?
‘It is in this context that families affected by collusion are now also demanding an immediate process of dissolution of the HET and the creation of an investigation body absolutely and totally independent of the PSNI.’ ENDS