The Walker report - Internal RUC instructions governing the interchange of intelligence between RUC Special Branch and the CID.
Ulster Television | 30 June 2001
On May 1 2001 Ulster Television broadcast an interview with a former RUC Detective in the RUC Criminal Investigation Branch (CID), Detective Sergeant Johnson 'Jonty' Brown. In the programme a series of allegations were made concerning RUC Special Branch. It was claimed that Special Branch routinely blocked investigations and destroyed evidence in order to protect informers. This included the investigation into, and evidence concerning, the murder of Pat Finucane.
Reference is made in the programme to internal RUC instructions governing the interchange of intelligence between RUC Special Branch and the CID. These instructions were contained in a memo issued on 23 February 1981, the Walker Report. The report was authored by Patrick Walker who, it is believed, was second in command of MI5 in the North in the early 1980s. Since the mid-seventies the role and influence of MI5 in the north had grown with Security Liaison Offices at British Army HQ and at RUC HQ at Knock. The MI5 Director and Coordinator of Intelligence (DCI), based at Stormont, functioned as a de facto personal advisor to ministers at cabinet level on security matters concerning the North.
The Security Services Act of 1989 made the DCI responsible to the secretary of state for Northern Ireland as opposed to the MI5 in Britain which was answerable to the British Home Office. In 1989, in the same year that Pat Finucane was murdered, Walker was appointed overall Director of the Security Service, MI5. At least one, and possibly more, of those involved in the murder of Pat Finucane were agents run by RUC Special Branch. Another of those involved in the murder, Brian Nelson, was an agent of the British Army Force Research Unit. Given the variety of intelligence sources serious questions remain unanswered regarding the level of knowledge within command structures in both the RUC and the security services concerning the murder of Pat Finucane. There has been much speculation over the years regarding the nature of the relationship between MI5, Britain's internal security service, and RUC Special Branch. The fact that the report that defined internal RUC regulations regarding intelligence was written by a senior member of MI5 will only add to that speculation.
Commenting on the memo Jane Winters of British Irish Rights Watch said:
"Before this document came to light many people would have thought that, perhaps, on occasion, security came before policing requirements and the requirements of justice. But in this highly systemised process, basically, intelligence always took priority…I do think a very serious question is, if MI5 drew up these guidelines, and if, within the RUC, Special Branch and intelligence is primary - if Special Branch were running the RUC, was MI5 running Special Branch?"
Sinn Fein and the SDLP both said the existence of the document vindicated their stance on RUC reform. Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly said:
"We cannot have a new beginning to policing if that force is under the direct control of faceless securocrats within the British Secret Services."
According to the SDLP's Alex Attwood the report confirmed
"that there are still many unanswered questions regarding the relationship between loyalist paramilitaries and the police and army." (Irish News 15.6.2001)
Below is the text of the confidential memo.
The Walker Report
SUBJECT: WALKER REPORT - INTERCHANGE OF INTELLIGENCE BETWEEN SPECIAL BRANCH AND CID
The Royal Ulster Constabulary
Belfast BT5 6LE
23 February 1981
|To 'C' Department||Chief Superintendents|
1. In January 1980 the Chief Constable commissioned a report - known as the Walker Report - on the interchange of intelligence between Special Branch and CID and on the staffing and organisation of units in C1(1) in Crime Branch.
2. The following recommendations, which were made in the report have been approved by the Chief Constable and will be implemented with effect from 1.3.81.
- All CID Agents, Sources or Informants who in the past have or are currently in a position to report on:
- Subversive Crime
- Non-Subversive Crime
should be declared to D/Chief Superintendent C1 and the Regional D/Superintendent on the attached Pro-forma as at Appendix 'B'.
- Detailed instructions regarding the handling of these Agents, Sources or Informants, the preparation of the reports and their dissemination are contained in the attached Appendix 'C'.
All proposals to effect planned arrests must be cleared with Regional Special Branch to ensure that no agents of either RUC or Army are involved. A decision to arrest an agent must only be taken after discussion between Special Branch and CID. If agreement is not possible the matter will be referred to Assistant Chief Constable level. The charging of an agent must be the result of a conscious decision by both Special Branch and CID in which the balance of advantage has been carefully weighed. (Recommendation 5 - para 11).
4. Recruiting of Agents/Sources
CID Officers must be alert to the possibility of recruiting as agents the individuals whom they are interviewing. When the opportunity to recruit such a person arises, Special Branch must be involved at an early stage both in de-briefing and handling the agent. It is also important to ensure that information provided by the person so recruited is handled in such a way that his value as an agent is not put at risk at an early stage. (Recommendation 6 - para 12).
- Interviews are an important source of intelligence. Even if the individual is not prepared to talk about his own activities for fear of incriminating himself, he may well be prepared to give valuable intelligence about the activities of others.
The process of persuading an individual to talk often requires patience and there may be a temptation for a busy CID Officer to end an interview with someone who is clearly not going to incriminate himself. Even when an admission has been obtained, an individual may be able to give other valuable intelligence. It is imperative that CID Officers seize every opportunity to acquire intelligence on subversive organisations. To this end interviews will be conducted by Officers who are well informed about the individual in custody and supported by those best able to direct the questioning and follow up the intelligence obtained. It is vitally essential that in this area the closest co-operation exist between Special Brunch and CID. (Recommendation 7 - para 13).
- The following rules will be adopted for interviews:
- CID Officers must always be aware of the possibility of obtaining intelligence in addition to admissions. The exploitation of these opportunities requires Special Branch Officers as well as CIU and Collators to support interviews at Regional and Divisional level.
- If a CID Officer concludes that a person being interviewed is not going to make an admission but may have intelligence of value, he will arrange for the interview to be taken over by Special Branch.
- When a person in custody has made an admission or admissions to CID and the CID Officer feels that that person may have intelligence of value it is desirable that Special Branch be given an opportunity to question such person. In those circumstances CID, on completion of questioning, should prefer charges and, where possible, arrange the Court in such a way that a reasonable period will elapse between charging and appearance in Court to enable Special Branch to question the person concerned for intelligence purposes.
5. Intelligence Briefs
Records should show when intelligence from interviews is handed over by CID. The originator of an intelligence folder will show in his records when intelligence from an interview is received (including nil returns when the interviewee refused to talk) in order that delays in producing reports can be taken up with the CID Officers concerned. (Recommendation 9 - para 18).
6. SB Intelligence - Forms 5/56
Special Branch Officers have been instructed to record as much intelligence as possible on Forms 5/56 passed to CIS.
7. D/Chief Superintendent C1 - Maintenance of index
D/Chief superintendent C1 will maintain an index of the main informants. He will seek from CID Officers a declaration of areas of criminal activity covered by their informants. This survey should be concluded as quickly as possible. To enable him to exercise better control of this area he needs to know the name of every casual contact or informant of CID Officers. He should establish a procedure for securing these declarations and maintain a secure index in his office for holding the identity of informants. To this end each CID Officer is now required to indicate the contacts he has with the criminal fraternity and the nature of the criminal activity whether 'ordinary' crime or subversive crime upon which his source can supply information. The survey will be carried out immediately by Regional CID Superintendents and a consolidated return forwarded, by hand, to D/Chief Superintendent C1. These returns will be made by each CID Officer completing the pro-forma attached - Appendix 'B'. (Recommendations 13 & 14 - paras 23 & 25).
8. Causal contacts - Collators records
Many Police Officers have in the course of their duties established a wide range of trusted contacts throughout the community whom they may use during enquires of a confidential nature including investigations into crime. Other Police Officers are unlikely to be aware of these contacts and potentially valuable assistance may be lost. Collators will indicate on street and premises location cards the names of the Police Officer(s) having such contacts. Such location cards will show only the name of the street or area and the name of the Police Officer having the contact. Other Police Officers seeking assistance should be referred to the Police Office concerned. No reference as to the identity of the contact will be made on these records. (Recommendation 15 - para 26).
9. Regional Criminal Intelligence Units
All reports by CID of interviews with a subversive connection will be passed direct to CIUs. It is no longer necessary for CIU to maintain the vehicle indices nor should they carry out the basic research into weapons and explosives but rely on DRC and WEIU. DRC or WEIU, as appropriate, will issue to CIUs, on a regular basis, copies of their charts on weapon use. CIUs will receive ICS charts of subversive groups. The Enquiry Bureau in Belfast will be amalgamated with the CIU, Belfast Region. (Recommendation 19 - 23 inclusive - paras 36 - 40 respectively).
10. SB Intelligence Briefs for HQ Crime Squad
Special Branch intelligence briefs for Headquarters Crime Squad will now be prepared by ICS. This must be done in a way that provides CID with the information in such detail as is possible, bearing in mind the need to protect sources. When intelligence briefs have been produced it is clearly important that Special Branch Officers involved should, whenever possible, discuss them with the CID Officers who will be conducting the interviews. (Recommendation 25 - para 46).
11. Transfer of WEIU to Special Branch
WEIU with effect from 1 September 1980 was transferred to Special Branch. Any CID requirement on WEIU should be put to Superintendent E3. (Recommendation 28 -para 54).
12. Transfer of DRC to Special Branch
DRC with effect from 1 September 1980 was transferred to Special Branch
(E3). (Recommendation 34 - para 64).
13. Responsibilities D/Superintendent C1(1)
Consequent on the transfer of ICS, WEIU and DRC, the following units -CIS, CIU, Collator and MO - will form a single coherent grouping solely concerned with criminal intelligence. The responsibility of the Superintendent C1 (1) will be:
- To ensure that there is an effective interchange of intelligence between Special Branch and CID.
In this he will work very closely with Superintendent E3 Special Branch to see that CID requirements are met by Special Branch.
- To develop the criminal intelligence system. This will involve him in regular visits to CIUs and Collators offices; discussions with Divisional and Sub- Divisional Commanders to secure their full support of the system and their co-operation in replacing unsuitable collators.
- To ensure that the Criminal Intelligence System is meeting the requirements of CID. (Recommendation 36 - para 66 ).
14. Special Branch & CID Co-operation
Co-operation between Special Branch and CID should be a matter of conscious policy at all levels. Efforts must be made to develop trusted relationships and maximum liaison. Senior Officers must be prepared to take a firm line where poor relationships are interfering with the efficient conduct of business, even if this entails the transfer of staff who insist on conducting business their own way to the detriment of the overall objectives of the Force.
15. Force Order Ref C352/70 under the same heading dated 8.9.80 is cancelled and should be destroyed
16. All officers under your command should be fully acquainted with these instructions.
J A Whiteside
Assistant Chief Constable 'C'
Deputy Chief Constable
All Assistant Chief Constables
All Divisional Commanders
All Collators and Field Liaison Officers
SUBJECT: WALKER REPORT INTERCHANGE OF INTELLIGENCE BETWEEN SPECIAL BRANCH AND CID
1. It was necessary to review the instructions contained in Paragraph 2 of this office's C352/70 dated 8.9.80 and in particular Paragraph 2(ii)C so that the recommendations contained in the above report and approved by the Chief Constable may be fully implemented.
2. Apart from the establishment of a system of reporting information regarding non-subversive crime, the other main purpose of the Report was to ensure that the fullest possible consultation and co-operation exists between SB and CID with regard to subversive crime.
3. These instructions are designed to set out the procedures for reporting on each type of crime, i.e. Subversive and Non-Subversive.
4. The following directions have been approved and will be implemented forthwith except where otherwise stated:
5. All past and current CID agents and sources which have or are supplying intelligence of a subversive nature should be declared on the appropriate pro-forma to The D/Chief Superintendent, C1 and to The Regional CID Superintendent (copies to each by Hand under TOP SECRET cover).
6. The following ground rules will be adopted for agent handling:
- An agent or source reporting on subversive organisations should be handled by Special Branch.
- If (a) is not possible the agent should be handled and reported on jointly by CID and SB, even though the latter's role be purely advisory.
- All intelligence obtained relating to subversives or subversive crime will be reported on Form SB 50 - in the case of joint handling as outlined at (b) above with co-located SB.
7. Were 6(b) is applicable extra copies will be forwarded to:
- D/Chief Superintendent, C1
- D/Superintendent, C1(1)
- The Regional CID D/Superintendent I/c of Officer of origin and
- The person i/c of the office of the CID Officer of origin.
8. When Form SB 50 is used for reporting on subversives as in the case of 6(a), (b) above the preparation, handling and passage of these documents will be the responsibility of Special Branch including that of copies to CID as listed above.
9. There are two points to be stressed in relation to the reporting of subversive intelligence:
- When Form SB 50 is used rather than a CID 50 and the preparation, handling and passage of these documents is vested in Special Branch these factors alone should assist both Departments in ensuring full co-operation and consultation at the various levels.
- It will be unnecessary for CID to undertake the very involved work in the preparation, handling and passage of these classified documents and avoid the setting up of another channel (apart from SB) of reporting on subversives which would have had the reverse effect to that intended.
10. Supervisory ranks will be responsible for the full implementation of these directions. Any difficulties which may arise should immediately be brought to the attention of Chief Superintendent C1 through the normal chain of Command.
11. Form CID 50 will be used by CID personnel for reporting on clearly non-subversive crime. Dissemination as listed on the form or at the discretion of the CID Officer in charge.
12. Where a report contains both elements, i.e. subversive and non-subversive or where the persons involved are suspected or known to have a previous subversive trace, form SB 50 should be used and disseminated accordingly by agreement with co-located SB.
13. Ultra Sensitive Intelligence touching on Internal Security
Intelligence in this category which is clearly of a highly sensitive nature will be handled and disseminated with discretion by the Officer of Origin.
14. It will be the responsibility of all personnel who are furnished with copies of Form SB 50 and/or CID 50s, to make provisions for their proper security. Such documents should not be left lying around when not in use and should not be photocopied in whole or in part without the authority of the officer in charge.
15. The attention of all personnel is drawn to the instructions contained in the Restricted Memo 13/75 dated 25.9.1975 and headed 'Security of Documents' issued to all Chief Officers, Chief Superintendents, Chief Inspector, Inspectors and persons I/c of Stations and also this office directions dated 29.10.80 issued to C1 personnel.
These should be attached to this directive and used extensively for instructional purposes within this Department.
Informant Reference No - Certain regular informants will be allocated a reference number at Headquarters. This number will be used by Officer of Origin on all CID 50 reports emanating from that particular informant.
Casual Contact Identification - A casual contact should be identified by the Officer of Origin by means of an alias or nickname and this should be used in all subsequent reports emanating from that particular informant. Should a casual contact become a 'regular' contact they should be considered for 'registration' at Headquarters.
A-F relates to the informant only
A - Completely reliable.
B - Usually reliable.
C - Fairly reliable.
D - Not usually reliable.
E - Unreliable.
F - Reliability unknown.
1-6 relates to the information supplied only
1. Absolutely accurate -confirmed by an independent source.
2. Probably true.
3. Possibly true
6. Impossible to assess accuracy.
Circumstances in which informant obtained information
Indicates whether he gained it personally or by hearsay or other method.
Degree of Consciousness of informant
Indicates his placing within a group - eg Part of a criminal group engaged in Robberies, Burglary, Theft, Handling etc.
High Medium Low
Indicates Handlers overall assessment of informants and information.
Comment by Originator
The originator can recommend the level of dissemination or make any other comments.
Comment of Submitting Officer
Where appropriate the officer in charge Sub-Division/Division/Region indicate the action taken or directed.