Special Branch files theft - planned systematic cover-up
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly has said that the revelation in this mornings Irish News that the RUC and PSNI have concealed and hidden over 1000 murder files raised many serious issues. Mr Kelly said that it was not enough to say that the files were missing, people needed to know who stole them, when they were stolen, where are they now and what was being done to retrieve them.
Mr. Kelly said:
"At the time the Historical Inquiries Team was established by the British government we expressed reservations about its ability to impartially investigate the past and in particular investigate the hundreds of cases where the British government either directly or indirectly through their pseudo gangs carried out killings. The families of those killed through policies like collusion have long called for a public inquiry independent of the British government to get to the truth on these issues.
"The revelation that the HET cannot even locate over 1000 case files will come as no surprise to nationalists who are all to aware of the culture of concealment and cover-up which exists at the heart of the Special Branch. But it is not enough for the British government to say that files are missing, people needed to know who stole them, when they were stolen, where are they now and what is being done to retrieve them.
"Late last year on a UTV Insight programme a former senior member of Special Branch Eric Anderson admitted to stealing case files and still having them in his possession. Indeed he tried to sell the case file in relation to the murder of Arlene Arkinson to the journalists working on the programme. Despite this public admission the PSNI took no action against Anderson or to retrieve any files he had stolen. Given that this is the current PSNI policy we can only assume that no efforts to retrieve any other missing files either have been or will be made.
"The latest revelation about the extent of the cover-up and the amount of files stolen raises very serious issues for the British government and their attitude towards dealing with the past. Thousands of missing files is not the work of rogue individuals it is the outworking of a systematic and planned effort to cover-up and conceal the involvement of British State agencies, including the Special Branch, in the murder of citizens. It can be seen in no other way." ENDS