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2 November 2014 Edition

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Top PSNI briefings on answering inquests into controversial killings

• PSNI’s Drew Harris and Judith Gillespie

Crime Operations, which Harris headed up before his promotion, includes the C3 Intelligence unit, formerly Special Branch

UNIONISTS and the mainstream media were wrong when they accused Sinn Féin and Policing Board member Caitríona Ruane MLA of trying to block the appointment of PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris because he was the man who signed the arrest warrant for Gerry Adams earlier this year.

Caitríona Ruane withdrew from the process in September and called for a new panel, arguing that the process was flawed and urging that a new one be convened.

In a statement on Monday 15 September, she said:

“I informed the Policing Board of my concerns about the need for absolute transparency in the recruitment process for the post of DCC in writing on Friday.

“I outlined serious concerns I have about the process. I then made it clear today that I could not take any further part in the current process. It is the integrity of the process which is most important in my view.

“I want to make it clear that none of my concerns reflect in any way on either of the two senior officers involved. They are clearly not at fault here.”

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• Caitríona Ruane MLA

It is worth noting, however, that Drew Harris was in the news more recently when it was discovered that he and retired Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie addressed meetings with retired RUC and PSNI personnel where it is believed they were briefed on how to deal with inquests into controversial killings by state forces.

Advisers from the PSNI’s Legacy Support Unit also attended.

Gillespie addressed the meeting on “the legacy landscape” while Harris spoke about “the view from crime operations”.

Crime Operations, which Harris headed up before his promotion, includes the C3 Intelligence unit, formerly Special Branch.

It was members of C3 who acted as ‘gatekeepers’, deciding what information would be passed to investigators and the Historical Enquiries Team (HET).

This knowledge, added to the fact that 15 of the 17 HET investigators were either retired RUC or PSNI members, closes the circle showing how Special Branch and its successor, C3, is a malign force with the power to ensure that the state and its agents escape with impunity.

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