Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

PSNI man Jason Murphy takes charge of Historical Enquiries Team

The Historical Enquiries Team was set up in September 2005 to investigate more than 3,200 unsolved murders between 1968 and 1998
The Historical Enquiries Team was set up in September 2005 to investigate more than 3,200 unsolved murders between 1968 and 1998

An acting PSNI chief superintendent is to take over leadership of the force's Historic Enquiries Team (HET) today.

Tina Barnett will be joined in her new post by Superintendent Jason Murphy, both PSNI officers with no background in the RUC. They will be assisted until mid October by Dave Cox, the former Met commander who headed the unit.

It was previously reported that Mr Cox left his post last Saturday. However, Chief Constable Matt Baggott told the Belfast Telegraph: "Dave Cox is going to do a handover period, and I am very grateful for that. He will be leaving in mid October."

The HET is a specialist police team set up in 2005 to re-examine all 3,260 troubles-related deaths here. They include killings carried out by both paramilitary groups and the security forces.

Mr Cox and Paul Johnston, who dealt specifically with killings carried out by the Army, brought forward their departure after a damning report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary into the way the HET reviewed military killings.

Mr Baggott praised Mr Cox's role, but admitted that mistakes had been made.

"The HET was set up in 2005 to be a precursor to an Eames-Bradley solution. At the time it had full political backing to step outside the normal rules. It produced reports for families that were opinion based. No other police service does that so they had a mandate but the goal posts have shifted since then," the chief constable said.

The report criticised HET procedures for dealing with deaths caused by soldiers but it did not examine any individual cases.

"I am now reviewing 13 cases of military killings to see if any evidential opportunities were missed," Mr Baggott said, adding that he would report on his findings in due course.

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