The Ulster Unionist Party’s Justice Spokesperson, Doug Beattie MC MLA, has vowed that the party will continue to oppose the creation of a parallel police force in the form of the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) which will unfairly target former RUC officers.
Doug Beattie MC MLA said:
“The Ulster Unionist Party has been the only one of the five main parties to consistently oppose the Historical Investigations Unit. We have laid out our reasons which show that the HIU will be an unbalanced, unfair and unworkable system. It will not be victim centric; indeed, it will ignore many victims while providing protections for perpetrators. We have outlined our proposals which are in line with those of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland and we have made it clear that we don’t think amnesties for any group is the way to proceed. Yet somehow, much of this commentary is being missed or misrepresented by politicians, political commentators and broadcasters.
“Take the issue of non-criminal police misconduct. The Police Ombudsman Northern Ireland (PONI) does have powers to investigate alleged misconduct involving serving members of the PSNI, but the HIU will go further and will be able to investigate retired police officers, even deceased police officers. Clearly this is not an investigatory path that the Police Ombudsman has already, as claimed by the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), rather, this would be a new investigatory path for the HIU, which will only be directed at members of the RUC GC and no other group.
“This issue around non-criminal police misconduct is compounded by the fact that the HIU will be both the investigator and the adjudicator. Having conducted an investigation and, if the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) says there is no case to answer, the HIU will then produce a family report that will outline what they found in their investigation laying blame at named individuals. This is clearly an adjudication beyond what the PSNI are able to do and beyond what the PONI has as its remit.
“If, as many are saying it is in the public interest to pursue RUC GC officers for non-criminal misconduct surrounding legacy killings, then why is there not the same public interest to investigate this for all killings now? Why is there no public interest to chase down politicians for non-criminal misconduct while in office? The reality is that this specific charge is designed and directed purely to target the RUC GC in an attempt to undermine them as individuals and as a force in the same way the RIC was undermined. The Ulster Unionist Party has not been silent on this issue and we will continue to fight against this unjust HIU regardless of whether or not we have to fight it alone.”