FAQs: Historical Investigations

Why does the Police Ombudsman have retrospective powers which allow him to investigate historical cases? I thought the Good Friday Agreement and the release of prisoners was supposed to allow us all to move on?

We carry out retrospective investigations because the law requires us to. The law states that if a matter of alleged police misconduct is grave or there are exceptional circumstances and the matter has not previously been investigated, or if there is new evidence in relation to the case, then the Police Ombudsman must investigate.

For this reason the Police Ombudsman has investigated, and is continuing to investigate, a series of cases related to allegations that police conduct may have resulted in a death. These include the deaths of military personnel, prison office staff, Protestant and Catholic civilians, and also of police officers themselves.

The families of all of those who lost their lives have a right to expect the terrible crimes committed against their loved ones to be investigated. Legislation requires that we continue to investigate the historical cases people have brought to us, and that will only change when those cases transfer to the new Historical Investigations Unit once it has been established.

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