Baggott bows out

MATT Baggott bowed out as PSNI chief constable yesterday amid suggestions the PSNI should not investigate Troubles-related murders.

The London-born officer said responsibility for investigating such killings should be passed to a new independent body. "I think how ever that is done, the PSNI should no longer be accountable for dealing with issues that pre-date the Good Friday Agreement," he said.

"We have to create a situation where police resources are focused on the here and now, without taking away from the needs of justice or victims. "But that can be done in a different place, under a different authority."

His comments were echoed by former police ombudsman Nuala O'Loan.

Baroness O'Loan referred to yesterday's ombudsman report into the 1977 murder of Catholic RUC Sergeant Joe Campbell, which found that the then RUC chief constable "failed to act", when he was "quite probably" aware of a plot of murder. "Putting on a uniform doesn't give you, if you like, a full competence in doing these matters," she said. "I think that today's report into Sgt Joseph Campbell's death demonstrates why we need an independent system to deal with historic murders."

Mr Baggott also called on the north's politicians to do more to deal with the legacy of the Troubles, including contentious flags, parades and rows about the past. "They have got to work as hard as they can and deal with this," he said.

Meanwhile, senior officer Stephen Martin has been appointed assistant chief constable (ACC), the Policing Board confirmed.

Mr Martin, who was temporary ACC, will take up the post on Monday.


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