Doug Beattie: NI does not need an international team of Troubles investigators

The UK rule of law, and not a Frankenstein investigation system, is key to PSNI integrity
The UK rule of law, and not a Frankenstein investigation system, is key to PSNI integrity

As the election draws ever closer, I remain concerned that there is momentum at both a future Executive level and in Westminster, for the setting up of what could be viewed as an international police force working in parallel to the PSNI, in the form of the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU).

This group of some 250-300 investigators is part of the Stormont House Agreement on legacy, agreed between Sinn Fein and the DUP.

The investigators will be drawn from police forces throughout the United Kingdom and further afield including the Irish Republic, Europe and the Americas.

It could very well see UK citizens being investigated by authorised individuals from outside the UK.

I remain fundamentally opposed to this principle and I think that monies and resources which are being made available for legacy investigations should be directed towards the PSNI Legacy Investigations Branch (LIB).

The PSNI have all the experience necessary to investigate Troubles related deaths and have been endorsed by all political parties including Sinn Fein.

As we face the general election in just over seven days’ time, I believe it is absolutely key that we know what our prospective Members of Parliament think.

Do they support UK citizens living and working under the jurisdiction of the UK, being investigated by investigators from outside of the UK?

Returning MPs who believe in the UK rule of law, and not some hybrid Frankenstein investigation system, is key to maintaining the integrity of the PSNI.

Support for the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) is effectively support for this Frankenstein justice system.

Doug Beattie MC MLA, Ulster Unionist Party Justice spokesperson