Northern Ireland

Analysis: Another damning report into 'collusive behaviours' and failures by police in loyalist sectarian murders

Five people were killed at Sean Graham bookmakers on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast in 1992
Five people were killed at Sean Graham bookmakers on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast in 1992

THE publication of yet another damning report into the relationship between the RUC and loyalist paramilitary groups during the Troubles will come as no surprise to many.

Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson said she was "deeply concerned" by the scale and scope of the failings she had uncovered in her probe into murders and attempted murders carried out by the UDA in south Belfast in the 1990s.

The publication of Operation Achille, together with other recent reports, would appear to reinforce a pattern that some elements of the security forces colluded with loyalist murder gangs.

A recent series of Police Ombudsman reports, including last month's Operation Greenwich, which examined the activities of the North West UDA/UFF, also produced similar findings.

From a failure to warn Catholics that their lives were in danger to handing back a gun later used by loyalists to kill six people as well as the destruction of files relating to a mass killing - Operation Achille paints yet another dark picture of policing in the north during the Troubles.

In a statement last night the PSNI admitted that areas of the report made "uncomfortable reading" and offered sincere apologies to the families of those killed and injured as a result of the failings detailed.

The statement said that policing had "developed enormously" in the past 30 years saying intelligence handling, training and investigative standards"....were "unrecognisable from what was in place at the time of these attacks.”

However, these words will provide little comfort to families reading through this report outlining the significant failures by police in the loyalist paramilitary murders of their loved ones.