Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Time limit for unsolved murders

A police unit set up to investigate more than 3,200 unsolved Troubles murders is set to be wound up

A specialist police unit set up to investigate more than 3,200 unsolved Troubles murders is set to be wound up in three years, Northern Ireland's chief constable said.

Outlining his timescale for closing down the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), Matt Baggott also rejected loyalist claims that cold case detectives were breaking the terms of an agreed government amnesty by pursuing paramilitaries over past killings.

The HET, which is staffed by seconded officers from other UK forces, was set up in 2005 with a budget of £30 million to independently re-examine 3,269 murders from the conflict.

Hailing the achievements of the team to date, Mr Baggott said there had to be a point when a line was drawn under historic probes so police could focus all resources on the present and future.

"My personal view is I want to set a three-year timescale within which we will have resolved as far as we can the outstanding investigations," he said.

"We will have dealt with and helped victims to move on and we will absolutely then be in a position to stop looking back and start looking forward.

"Three years for me is an appropriate timescale. My ambition will be in the future when it comes to my turn to hand over to a new chief constable I will give them the opportunity to only look forward and not look back all the time."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz