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Statement by Paul Murphy about the creation of the Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) within the PSNI to review unresolved deaths, 1969-1998, (8 March 2005)

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Text: Paul Murphy ... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Statement by Paul Murphy, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, about the creation of the Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) within the PSNI to review unresolved deaths, 1969-1998, (8 March 2005)


"The Government is committed to doing all that it can to help Northern Ireland deal with its troubled past and our pledge to provide the resources to look at unresolved deaths underpins that commitment.

We believe that Northern Ireland needs a tailored approach to deal with the pain, grief and anger associated with its past. Part of this approach is the need to address, in a systematic and comprehensive way, all of the unresolved deaths that took place during the Troubles.

The work of the Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) within the PSNI is an important part of this.

It has undertaken groundbreaking work in assessing the prospects for cases to be reinvestigated with the possibility of a judicial outcome, and where it is not possible, in considering ways in which as much information as possible can be made available to the relatives of victims.

Today’s announcement will allow the Chief Constable to establish a new unit and expand this work to cover all unresolved deaths in a way that will command the confidence of the wider community.

It also supports the establishment of a dedicated team in Forensic Science Northern Ireland to provide comprehensive forensic advice to the review.

This is sensitive, painstaking and complex work and in many cases is unlikely to lead to any prosecutions.

But it is important work if we are to provide answers to the questions so many people have about the death of their loved ones."



Notes to Editors

It is proposed that a new, ring-fenced, Review Unit is created by the Chief Constable with the sole purpose of reviewing the unresolved deaths due to the security situation between 1969 and 1998.

In particular it is proposed that:

  • The new Review Unit will be headed by a recently retired Commander from the Metropolitan Police, Dave Cox. In addition the head of investigation is a seconded D/Superintendent, Phil James, who previously worked in the Steven's team. D/Superintendent James has full policing powers on secondment to PSNI working for the Chief Constable, and will be subject to the Code of Ethics and the Ombudsman's regime;
  • the unit will be staffed by a mix of serving and retired officers from PSNI and GB forces on an agency basis;
  • a key part of the process will involve the disclosure of appropriate information to families of victims;
  • PSNI will create a dedicated intelligence team working to the Review Unit;
  • There will be some mechanism to ensure an effective review process and public confidence;
  • All complaints about actions by PSNI (including seconded) officers attached to the Unit will be subject to investigation by the Police Ombudsman in the normal way. This would not extend to agency staff as they will not be exercising police powers.

The Review Unit, which will be part of Crime Operations (C8), will be responsible for carrying out the Minimum Standards Assessment (MSA), Preliminary Case Assessment (PCA) and Deferred Reviews. C8 will also have dedicated Murder Investigation Teams where cases are thought appropriate for reinvestigation.


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