Just read some articles in the Belfast Telegraph, News Letter and the BBC’s website regarding alleged collusion between the PSNI and the UVF whereby a number of it’s officers are alleged to be protecting some members of the UVF who act as informants but who may have also been involved with killings, one of which occurred in 2 years time when Bobby Moffett was murdered on the Shankill Road due to an ongoing feud within the UVF and it’s leadership.
As noted over at the BBC:
‘It is understood investigators will examine claims that no one has been charged or convicted in connection with the murders because informers were being protected.‘
This, of course, is not the first time that a northern police service has been accused of colluding with loyalist paramilitaries. Five years ago, the Police Ombudsman released a report titled ‘Operation Ballast‘ where it noted that the RUC’s notorious Special Branch had protected a number of informers within the Mount Vernon UVF who were subsequently connected with 16 murders.
While that report was incredibly damaging for the Police, many noted that this occurred under the remit of the RUC as opposed to the brand, spanking new PSNI which was brought about thanks to the Patten Report, so the message at the time was in essence, ‘yes, truly awful stuff, but we do things differently now. The bad old RUC is gone forever sure.’ Well, that may not be wholly correct now. As I noted previously, it has subsequently been noted that nearly 20% of former RUC members who were handsomely paid off/bribed/kicked out/made redundant/whatever of the new PSNI were subsequently re-hired as temporary staff, some the day after receiving their massive pay outs.
So, while Operation Ballast was incredibly damaging to the already tarnished reputation of the RUC, if there appears to be any substantiation of these new allegations of the PSNI protecting UVF informers, the question can be asked once again, have we really been given a new beginning with policing in the North? How successful has our own ‘De-Ba’athification’ experiment been if our newly reconstituted police service seems to be acting like its previous incarnation and using the same techniques its largely discredited predecessor had in the past? Or am I making a mountain out of a mole hill on this matter? Sure let me know.