SOUTH Down Margaret Ritchie has urged the Secretary of State to consider the need for new leadership in the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) following the damning HMIC report into its operations.
Ms Ritchie was speaking during a Northern Ireland Grand Committee hearing taking place in the Senate Chamber, Stormont today. She said: “I was glad to hear that the Secretary of State agreed with me that the primacy of the Policing Board must be maintained and that they have responsibility for reform of the HET.
“Fundamental change at the HET is required following the damning HMIC report into its operations. Change is needed now to protect the integrity and reputation of the HET and prove to victims and their families that their interests are foremost
“The SDLP will continue to challenge the Chief Constable to accept responsibility for the serious failures in audit and oversight of the HET. The Chief Constable must accept full responsibility for the PSNI’s failure to properly oversee and audit the work of the HMIC since its establishment in 2005.
“The HMIC makes 20 specific recommendations. They must all be fully and properly implemented. Families of many victims have expressed their desire to see the HET continue its work.
“The SDLP agrees with the need for an independent investigative authority to investigate our past. The HET is meant to be that body but it will only be capable of being so if it has the support and confidence of the Policing Board.”]]>