Statement on Chief Constable’s decision to deploy Armed Forces

Relatives for Justice Families considering legal challenge to Chief Constable’s decision to deploy ‘special forces’
Speaking on news that the PSNI Chief Constable is to deploy ‘special forces’ Relatives for Justice Director Mark Thompson issued the following statement;
‘The policy decision to deploy ‘special forces’ is a matter of policing policy and therefore, under Section 6 of the NI Police Act, a policy decision is for the Policing Board and not a matter for the Chief Constable to arbitrarily act without the expressed and independent authority of the Policing Board, which he did. Effectively his decision undermines the Policing Board.
‘The way in which this policy decision has been taken clearly places both the Chief Constable and the Policing Board in breach of their Section 6 statutory duties. The legislation is very clear in this regard around policy decisions and the clear legal advices that we have received amount to a violation of Section 6.
‘Equally, and when a matter of policy is to be implemented, there exists a Section 75 equality duty on the part of both the PSNI and the Policing Board before any policy decision to deploy can come into effect. This too has consequently been breached.
‘It is in these regards that a number of families bereaved as a direct consequence of so-called ‘special forces’ – such as the Force Research Unit (FRU), the 14th Intelligence Unit, the Signals, and ultimately the SAS who work closely with these military units – will directly challenge the policy decision to deploy.
‘The decision to challenge this policy must also be seen in the context of an appalling vista of collusion between these very same units of British Military Intelligence and principally loyalist paramilitaries that led to hundreds of killings.
‘Equally we have experienced numerous incidents in which the SAS were deployed as part of these covert activities that led to scores of people being killed in pre-meditated and pre-planned ambushes where clearly ample opportunity to make safe and effective arrests within the rule of law existed.
‘That time and time again executive political and military decisions were taken to shoot people dead rather than upholding the rule of law and human rights must also be a central factor in any decision for deployment especially as we continue our collective attempts to deal with the truth about these past incidents on an almost daily basis.
‘These forces have nothing to offer our society and will serve only to undermine the upholding of human rights. That Hugh Orde could even countenance such a move is incredulous given the awful legacy that these same forces have left behind. ‘ENDS