Historical Investigations

The Police Ombudsman's Historical Investigations Directorate was established in 2010 (the term 'historical' was used to set this work apart from the Office's investigations into complaints about current policing).

The Historical Investigations Directorate has a staff of around 25 people, drawn from a variety of professional backgrounds, including those with an expertise of investigation,  complaint handling and dealing with people affected by events during ‘The Troubles’ (the conflict in Northern Ireland between 1968  and the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998).

The Directorate is based within the Police Ombudsman's Offices in Belfast city centre (see map).

What We Do

The law does not permit the police in Northern Ireland to investigate complaints made by members of the public about police officers. These must be referred to the  Police Ombudsman’s Office for independent investigation. The PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team, set up to examine all murders during ‘The Troubles’, refers to the Police Ombudsman’s Historical Investigations Directorate any matter arising from its work which raises a concern of possible police criminality.

The Directorate looks at matters in which members of the RUC may have been responsible for deaths or serious criminality in the past, and in particular between 1968 until 1998.

It also receives complaints of a grave or exceptional nature from members of the public about police conduct during this period, including allegations of police involvement in murder, attempted murder, as well as conspiracy and incitement to murder.

The Directorate has no legal power to investigate matters related to the conduct of the military or of the security services.


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