PSNI on collision course with families

20 September 2013

The PFC has accused the PSNI of ‘arrogance and gross insensitivity’ following the announcement that the PSNI is to review 13 military killings that had been the subject of a HET review.

Speaking today Paul O’Connor said,

‘There has been no consultation or communication with families or NGOs. We warned the Policing Board last week that these cases must be reviewed by a body independent of the PSNI. The DNA of the PSNI is inextricably linked to the DNA of the RUC which was central to the original illegal cover-up of British Army killings between 1970 and 1973. If the Chief Constable chooses to push ahead with this against the wishes of families he will find himself on a collision course that will lead to litigation and will have a damaging effect on the climate of current policing.

PSNI involvement in or management of any investigative body which emerges from the current crisis would embroil the Policing Board and the PSNI in an unprecedented confrontation with families and NGOs. Such reviews require greater not less independence. If we are to fix what is broken there must be independence from the PSNI.’

One of the cases which it is thought may be the subject of such a review is that of Kathleen Thompson who was shot dead by a British soldier in November 1971 in Derry. Speaking today her daughter Minty said,

"This is unacceptable. The RUC failed to investigate the murder of our mother in the first place. Why should we have any confidence in a review carried out by the PSNI? These cases should be reviewed by a body independent of the PSNI. We are seeking urgent legal advice."

Emmett Mc Conomy, whose 11 year old brother Stephen was killed by a British soldier in Derry in 1982, also responded to the statement,

"The Chief Constable is making the biggest mistake of his career. Stephen’s case was under review by the HET and this has now been suspended. We will only accept a renewed investigation if this is carried out by a body completely independent of the police. When Stephen was murdered the police failed to even interview the soldier under caution. Does the Chief Constable seriously believe that we would accept a PSNI review at this stage? We met the PSNI in 2001 and they treated us with contempt. They wouldn’t even accept that an 11 year child was ‘innocent’. The PSNI should stick to policing the present not the past."

Marjorie Roddy, whose uncle William Mc Greanery was shot dead by a British soldier in Derry 1971 described the announcement as,

‘Exactly what isn’t needed. What we need and deserve is a completely independent review of cases that have been completed. We have no faith whatsoever in a PSNI paper exercise.’