The former head of RUC Special Branch has rejected claims of widespread collusion between police and loyalist paramilitaries during the Troubles, but admitted there was "a cadre" of security force personnel involved in murder.
Former Assistant Chief Constable Raymond White was speaking out yesterday following allegations printed in a new book that collusion between the security forces and loyalists was widespread during some of the worst years of the Troubles.
He said just a small number of individual officers were involved.
Lethal Allies: British Collusion In Ireland written by former journalist Anne Callwallader and produced by the Pat Finucane centre focuses on the so-called Glenanne Gang which operated in Co Armagh.
The book claims members of the RUC and UDR were part of the gang which killed more than 100 people in the 1970s, operating from farms in counties Armagh and Tyrone.
One extract, from an unpublished Historical Enquiries Team (HET) report, says there was "indisputable evidence of security forces collusion" that should have rung alarm bells all the way to the top of Government.
One of the cases which the book looks at was the 1976 UVF bomb at the Step Inn bar in Keady, Co Armagh.
A HET report into the case says the RUC had advance knowledge of an attack, knew the bomb was being stored in a farmhouse owned by a part-time police officer and put it under surveillance.
The HET report also says the surveillance was lifted on the day of the attack in which two people died – Betty McDonald (38) and Gerald McGleenan (22).
It found that nothing was done by the RUC to stop the bombing or arrest the suspects.
The HET says there was "no rationale for this", adding that even if it was done to protect an informant's identity, it was a huge gamble which went badly wrong.
The report says that RUC Special Branch had names and addresses of suspects but did not share these with the detectives investigating the bomb.
Mr White said yesterday that he was ashamed that some officers were involved in collusion with loyalists, but he disputed claims of widespread collusion.