UCBTs, another PSNI shambles

The Historical Enquiries Team told me in 2008 that “whenever a device failed to detonate it would be examined by Army Technical Officer’s [sic] and by this means ‘technically’ linked to other devices…There is no specific reference in the available case papers detailing any linkage between the UCBT used in the murder of your parents and other devices recovered during this period.”

Note there is no mention of forensic scientists.

In May 2014, I asked the Chief Constable  [among other things] :

1. What did the examination of the surviving bombs reveal?

2. Are the component parts of these bombs still available for evidential purposes?

3. What DNA has or could be extracted from these items?

ACC Harris [as he then was] replied in August 2014 as follows:

“The HET report made reference to fifteen UCBT type devices being defused. Although the SCRT review has led to the identification of potential forensic opportunities in respect of these devices, a senior scientist has concluded that although the bombs were similar in their makeup, they had subtle differences and could not be attributed to a single bomb maker.”

I asked Forensic Science NI for a copy of the report. Their reply was that :

“FSNI examined a number of devices during the period 1990 to 1992 however these were not correlated into any single report that we hold or have access to in our files.”

I served a freedom of information request on the PSNI on 13th November 2014. After much delay, it turns out that there is no report. Police now say that there was a verbal discussion with the HET during July 2014. They then go on , later in their reply to me to say this :

“there is no written report from the senior scientist in the case papers or the material created or gathered by the HET. The senior scientist verbally briefed the SIO and did not produce a written report or record notes of the verbal comments.”

So, dear reader, there you have it. Fourteen years after the murders , a senior police officer has a “verbal discussion” with a “senior scientist”. The latter has no written report and the former, disgracefully in respect of such an important matter, makes no notes whatsoever.

It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that police operations are populated with clowns and that senior officers would tell you anything.

Of course the alternative explanation is that they have been told not to try too hard.

Whichever way it is , the pain and grief that this  disgraceful behaviour causes victims is beyond words.

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