Police in Northern Ireland have no plans to launch a fresh inquiry into killings carried out by British troops during the Troubles.
The force issued the statement after a front-page report in the Sun said officers would reinvestigate all 302 killings carried out by British troops. The paper said at least 500 ex-servicemen, many now in their 60s and 70s, would be “viewed as suspects” during the process.
The move was described to the Sun as a “brand new witch hunt” by Conservative MP Johnny Mercer, a former army officer. The Ministry of Defence will provide legal representation for all affected soldiers, a spokesman told the Guardian.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) clarified that officers in the Legacy Investigations Branch (LIB) are reviewing all murder cases linked to the Troubles, including those carried out by loyalist and republican paramilitary forces, and state personnel.
“There is no new single probe or bespoke inquiry into deaths attributed to the British army,” said assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton, head of the PSNI’s legacy and justice department. “All Troubles-related deaths will be reviewed by LIB using the case sequencing model which does not prioritise military cases. This is not a new decision.”
PSNI announced in 2013 that it would review all killings attributed to the military, following a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) that year, which found that troops and policemen could face murder or manslaughter charges for killings that occurred when they were on…
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