The Police OmbudsmaN has lost the confidence of the nationalist and republican community and should step down immediately, a North Belfast MLA has said.
Speaking at Sinn Féin’s Ard Fheis last Saturday, Gerry Kelly repeated his call for Al Hutchinson to go in the wake of a report by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate which questioned his independence.
Mr Hutchinson is to quit his job in June 2012 after the CJI report found that reports by the Ombudsman had been "heavily influenced" by families and their legal teams, the PSNI and others.
Last July the Ombudsman’s report into the McGurk’s Bar Massacre in 1971 had to be pulled because of inaccuracies. A second report into the UVF bombing published in February found that the original RUC investigation was biased.
However, Chief Constable Matt Baggott has said he cannot accept the Ombudsman’s findings.
“He [Al Hutchinson] must go,” said Mr Kelly.
“He has lost the confidence of the nationalist and republican community and if he is in any doubt let him hear it from this Ard Fheis – Sinn Féin is here to continue the momentum to a truly civic, representative, impartial and fully accountable service for the whole community. If we don’t, no-one will. We will not stop until it is achieved.”
He said the Chief Constable dealt a blow to the new start to policing in the North by defending the RUC investigation into McGurk’s.
“I don’t know what age Matt Baggott is, but he could not have been more than a teenager at the time of the McGurk’s bombing. There is still some of the RUC old guard trying to return policing to the ‘force within a force’ period. Sinn Féin will not let that happen.
“The PSNI Chief Constable has a duty and a legal responsibility to prevent it also. He should be facing the dinosaurs down instead of contaminating those who have joined the PSNI to serve the community today.
“To engender long-term confidence within the nationalist and republican community, the PSNI must cease to be a line of defence for past wrongs,” he added.