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Police Federation says legacy plans must not compare officers with terrorists

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The Police Federation has said new legacy proposals must treat officers fairly.

The Police Federation has said new legacy proposals must treat officers fairly.

The Police Federation has said new legacy proposals must treat officers fairly.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) has said the government’s new legacy proposals must not equate police officers with terrorists.

Mark Lindsay is chair of the organisation which represents rank and file police officers.

He said imposing a cut-off for prosecutions before 1998 would mean that hundreds of relatives of police officers murdered during the Troubles could be denied justice.

In addition, he said thousands of investigations into attempted murders of officers would be closed.

The government plans to end all Troubles prosecutions up to 1998 have been widely criticised by victims, all five of the main political parties in Northern Ireland as well as the Irish government.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has claimed it will allow Northern Ireland to "draw a line under the Troubles" and would end all legacy inquests and civil actions related to the conflict.

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Mr Lindsay said: “We’ve now heard of the Government intentions and will have to wait for the detail when it’s presented to Parliament in the Autumn.

“Drawing a line in the sand will leave many people feeling abandoned and ignored. However, we have to look at these matters in the round and enter a process which sets out a reasonable chance of conviction.”

He acknowledged that securing convictions had already become increasingly difficult with the passage of time but said the “failure” to deal with this issue under the Good Friday Agreement meant many will never see justice.

“I’m not happy that this legislation could be seen to create equivalence between terrorists and police officers who worked tirelessly to save lives. Any such link would be abhorrent and without any justification. We will work to ensure there is no such equivalence in the legislation," he said.

“Let me be clear though, that where evidence exists that a police officer broke the law, then I would expect them to be answerable to it. This has to be on the basis of evidence though and not as a result of conjecture.”

Calling truth “a two way street” Mr Lindsay said many who were involved in terrorism had a moral duty to come forward with information and give closure to thousands of victims.

“I have always said we should follow the evidence in a manner which will deliver truth for so many families across society who have lost loved ones."


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