Ombudsman cannot stay another day in office
Sinn Féin Policing Spokesperson Gerry Kelly said that any fragment of trust that the wider public may have had in Ombudsman Al Hutchinson is now gone following last night’s BBC Spotlight programme.
“Al Hutchinson’s former Chief Executive and member of the Ombudsman’s Office for over ten years Sam Pollock has now joined the voices of those calling for him to resign.
“While Al Hutchinson remains in charge this office is being further damaged and is losing all credibility as it fails in its remit of holding the police to account.
“The Special Branch was the main arm of the old RUC that was responsible for abuses of power in the past and this can not be allowed to filter down into the PSNI. There is now evidence that a ‘force within a force’ mentallity has now permeated Al Hutchinson’s office.
“Al Hutchinson is there to hold the police to account. In addition to three previous damming reports of his office, last night’s programme has revealed that Al Hutchinson has miss-led the Assembly Justice Committee, the Policing Board, the media, but most importantly, the relatives of the victims involved.
“Al Hutchinson told the Assembly Justice Committee that reports had not been changed. Last night’s programme produced the evidence that in fact a number of reports were indeed changed to reduce criticism of the police.
“Sinn Féin for our part will be supporting the families of those whose trust he has clearly trampled on and we repeat our call for his immediate resignation. The need for accountability is too important to leave Al Hutchinson in office a day longer than necessary.”