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Former Met men call for end to pursuit of ex-soldiers

Two former Metropolitan police chiefs have added their voices to calls to draw a line under the pursuit of soldiers for Troubles-era incidents.

Lord Stevens and Sir Paul Stephenson, both now retired, spoke out as concerns grew about the investigation into a former paratrooper - now 76 - who fired shots on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972.

The former soldier, known as Sergeant O, is being investigated for attempted murder around an incident in which two men were injured by debris caused by shots hitting masonry.

Lord Stevens, who led the Met from 2000 to 2005, criticised the continued investigation.

"It is a waste of resources, especially at these times when crime is going through the roof," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"There has to be a line drawn on these issues. Now is the time to draw the line."

Sir Paul, who headed the Met between 2009 and 2010, said: "I cannot comment on the details of the (Sergeant O) case. However one has to express concern regarding historic investigations of this nature including the balance, the propriety and the proportionality.

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"These are cases almost 50 years old."

A government spokesman said: "It is only due to the courageous efforts of our security forces that we have the relative peace and stability which we enjoy in Northern Ireland today.

"We are now consulting on new legacy institutions to replace the current flawed process and ensure that there is no unfair and disproportionate focus on former members of the Armed Forces and police officers."

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