The collusion report

If you don't have time to read all 162 pages of the report into police collusion with the UVF in the North, the following extract (reproduced verbatim) should give you the flavour.

The report finds evidence of collusion in the following areas:

• The failure to arrest informants for crimes to which those informants had allegedly confessed, or to treat such informants as suspects for crime;
• By creating interview notes which were deliberately misleading; by failing to record and maintain original interview notes and by failing to record notes of meetings with informants;
• The failure to deal properly with information received from informants, so that informants were able to avoid investigation and detection for crime;
• By arresting informants suspected of murder then subjecting them to lengthy sham interviews by their own handlers at which they were not challenged and then releasing them on the authorisation of the handler;
• By not recording in investigation papers the fact that an informant was suspected of a crime despite the fact that he had been arrested and interviewed for that crime;
• By failing to take steps to hinder an attempted bombing by the establishment of an operation either to disrupt or arrest the alleged perpetrators whose names were known to Special Branch;
• By giving instructions to junior officers that records should not be completed, and that there should be no record of the incident concerned;
• By ensuring the absence of any official record linking a Special Branch informant to the possession of explosives which may, and were thought, according to private police records, to have been used in a particular crime;
• By withholding information from CID that the UVF had sanctioned an attack;
• By concealing from CID intelligence that named persons, including an informant or informants, had been involved in particular crimes;
• By withholding information about the location to which a group of murder suspects had allegedly fled after a murder;
• By the concealment on a number of occasions of intelligence indicating that up to three informants had been engaged together in murders and a particular crime or crimes;
• By routinely destroying all Tasking and Co-ordinating Group original documentary records so as to conceal an informant’s involvement in crime;
• By destroying or losing forensic exhibits such as metal bars and tape lifts;
• By not requiring appropriate forensic analysis to be carried out on items submitted to the Forensic Science Service Laboratory;
• by blocking the searches of a police informant’s home and of another location, including an alleged UVF arms dump;
• By not questioning informants about their activities and continuing to employ informants without risk assessing their continued use as informants;
• By finding munitions at an informant’s home and releasing him without charge;
• By not informing local police of an anticipated attack, and not taking any action to prevent the attack;
• By not using the available evidence and intelligence to detect a crime and to link the investigation of crimes in which an informant was a suspect;
• By some Special Branch officers deliberately disregarding a very significant amount of intelligence about informant involvement in drug dealing in Larne, and North Belfast and in punishment attacks linked to drug dealing from 1994 onwards;
• By continuing to employ as informants people suspected of involvement in the most serious crime without assessing the attendant risks or their suitability as informants;
• By not acting on witness and other evidence received in particular crimes when the suspect was an informant;
• By not considering or attempting to conduct identification processes when there was particular evidence from witnesses about a criminal’s appearance;
• By providing at least four misleading and inaccurate confidential documents for possible consideration by the court in relation to four separate incidents and the cases resulting from them, where those documents had the effect of protecting an informant;
• By not informing the Director of Public Prosecutions that an informant was a suspect in a crime in respect of which an investigation file was submitted to the Director;
• By their failure to maintain the record of intelligence which was the basis for applications for extensions of time in detention to the Secretary of State;
• By withholding intelligence from police colleagues including the names of alleged suspects which could have been used to attempt to prevent and to detect crime;
• By the practice of Special Branch not using and following the practice of authorisation of participating informants;
• By completing false and misleading authorisations and reviews of informants for the purposes of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act;
• By cancelling the wanted status of murder suspects “because of lack of resources” and doing nothing further about these suspects;
• This investigation has examined the activities of police officers responsible for informants over a period of twelve years. On only one occasion have PSNI provided any document indicative of consideration of the termination of the relationship which Special Branch had with any of these informants, despite the extent of the alleged involvement of these informants in the most serious of crimes.

For years and years republicans have said this was going on and have been told we were at best paranoid, at worst outright lying; that there might (might!) be the odd "bad apple" in the RUC; that there was no more than the occasional bended rule and that even that was probably excusable given what the police were up against. There's all that out the window now. And this report only covers collusion with the Belfast UVF; imagine how much more it could have found with a wider remit.

I wonder if the report will get the widespread coverage within Britain that it merits, and that the Cory and Barron reports never did. Somehow I doubt it.


WorldbyStorm said...

It pretty much led on C4 News, but then that's C4 News. I haven't seen the other channels. This has to be arguably the most important single event in policing linked to the British (heh, that's my tactful way of putting it), yet you're right, it won't get the coverage it deserves, and more to the point there's already a fightback by former RUC members...

DCReader said...

There was a prominent article in today's Washington Post.

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