Looking in detail at events which often happened decades ago is a specialised form of investigation, with its own demands and which requires a particular skills set. The work includes speaking to members of the bereaved families, members of the RUC and of the general public, to help gather as much factual evidence as possible and to get a better understanding of the time and place under investigation.
Whether a person has brought a complaint to us, or we are investigating matters related to the death of a member of their family, or they are a former police officer who is providing us with witness evidence, we make the following commitments.
(a) We will deal with matters in an independent manner: none of our staff have any connection to the matters they investigate.
(b) Our handling of the issue will be influenced only by relevant information and by evidence and will not be subject to any undue influence from the police, from the community or any sectional interest.
(c) We will deal with all people in a manner which recognises that they may have been, and may still be, deeply affected by the events under investigation.
(d) We will make and honour a ‘communication contract’ with them. We will appoint a member of staff to keep them updated on the progress of the investigation and take direction from them as to when and how they want to be kept informed. At a certain stage in the process we may appoint a Liaison Officer to support members of the bereaved families.
(e) We will not discuss our investigation in public while it is ongoing, nor will we make public the names of any individuals who are involved in the case or who provide us with information.
(i) that people cooperate with us and provide us with as much specific information and detail as they can throughout the investigation, and
(ii) that they do not undermine the investigation. Investigations can be put at risk by discussing issues in public. When an investigation has been completed we will decide if the available evidence is such that we should refer the matter to the Public Prosecution Service to consider whether someone should go before the courts to face criminal charges.