Responding to the announcement from an association representing former members of the RUC that they will in the future not encourage members to co-operate with Police Ombudsman investigations into past killings, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly said:
“Many will feel that the timing of this statement is clearly designed to attract attention away from the media coverage of the activities of the Glenanne gang and in wider political terms to influence the on going Haass talks into dealing with the past.
“In any other society an announcement by former serving Police Officers that they will not co-operate with a state agency investigating murder would be seen an as outrage. But given the reality that the RUC Special Branch in particular was involved in the control and direction of loyalist gangs for years and in the cover-up of their activities this move will not come as a surprise.
“The culture of concealment and cover-up which is being revealed very publicly in this statement is the very same culture and practice which gave rise to collusion, the torture of detainees, the extraction of forced confessions and the framing of innocent people by the RUC over many years.
“It is precisely why policing in the north had to be transformed. It is why the malign influence of the RUC Special Branch had to be broken for a new beginning to policing here to be achieved.
“Victims’ families will now watch closely the reaction of unionist politicians to this statement. Will these politicians who claim to be supporters of the rule of law speak out and condemn what is clearly an attempt to frustrate the work of the Police Ombudsman by former members of the RUC.” ENDS