Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has welcomed the announcement that the Director of the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET) is to leave his post at the end of September 2013.
The announcement was made after an urgent meeting was convened today with the PSNI Senior Executive Team by the Policing Board’s working group on the HET.
Mr Sheehan said that the outcome should never have been in doubt:
“Although last week saw the Policing Board’s first public meeting since the summer, the Board’s working group on the HET has been diligently pursuing its mandate throughout recent weeks.
“The PSNI knew the Policing Board’s position was that the leadership of the HET could no longer command any confidence of the Board.
“The same sentiment was widely shared in the public, especially amongst the NGO sector and many of those families who have been directly bereaved during the conflict. There should never have been any confusion or indecision in what had to happen.”
“Following the publication of the research by University of Ulster Professor Patricia Lundy, the Policing Board commissioned the inspection of the HET by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. “It’s an important first step that those who have presided over the HET will now leave shortly. The public is entitled to see effective policing oversight.
“It’s an essential part of the new beginning to policing which Sinn Féin is working hard to achieve. Today’s decision is a good example of how institutions can work, and be seen to work. Accountability is good for policing.”
The Policing Board working group also met with NGOs today representing families who have worked with the HET. The Sinn Féin MLA said that engagement will continue inside and outside the Board.
“It is absolutely paramount that the rights and entitlements of families bereaved and the groups and advocates who support them are heard.
“The Policing Board working group welcomed several NGOs today and received submissions from them about the aftermath of the inspection report by the HMIC.
“Together with other members of the Policing Board we will reflect on how those submissions help us move ahead. As the PSNI Chief Constable has now agreed, all options are on the table.”