Police officers urge Government to scrap ‘unfair’ N Ireland legacy proposals

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Serving police officers have urged the Government to scrap its “one-sided and unfair” legacy proposals for Northern Ireland.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) characterised the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) as a parallel police service and said a suggested new offence of “non-criminal police misconduct” could be construed as another word for collusion.

It reiterated its opposition to equating terrorists with officers and rejected creation of an Oral History Archive, which it believes could be used as a propaganda tool by people who refused to assist criminal investigations.

The representative organisation for officers said the current legacy set-up was heavily biased and “a travesty for the rule of law”.

Chairman Mark Lindsay said: “The draft bill is flawed.

“Assessed through tried and trusted justice principles, the PFNI rejects it in its entirety.

“This is lop-sided, one-sided and massively unfair on the wider police family.

“The words ‘terrorist’ and ‘murder’ do not appear in the Government consultation, and that speaks to a lack of objectivity and imbalance.”

During the decades of the Troubles, officers were responsible for 51 deaths, almost all lawful killings, and terrorists 3,251, Mr Lindsay said.

“Officers accounted for 1% but that hasn’t prevented opponents orchestrating a vicious campaign against the reputations of the men and women who thwarted the terrorists and prevented anarchy.”

He said the proposals delivered false hope to victims, risked re-traumatising many and “weaponised” the past.

“The Government has an opportunity to stop this ludicrous process in its tracks before it escalates into an ugly political arm-wrestle,” he said.

“We offer our opinion and advice to ministers and urge them most sincerely to recognise the damage they would be inflicting on victims if they don’t close this exercise down immediately.”

He added: “We are against amnesties for any group and that includes police and military personnel.”

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