Wounded RUC back Victims Commssioner Judith Thompson resignation calls

Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson says she will continue to advocate for RUC officers wounded pre-1982 until she makes progress regarding compensation for them.
Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson says she will continue to advocate for RUC officers wounded pre-1982 until she makes progress regarding compensation for them.
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The Wounded Police and Families Association (WPFA) is the latest group to call on the Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson to resign over her track record for victims.

Chairwoman Hazel McCready says that after their first meeting with Ms Thompson, the commissioner failed to action any of their concerns and despite having a second meeting, has still failed to secure any progress.

Mrs McCready said RUC officers who were wounded before the creation of the Compensation Agency in November 1982 were “only paid random, small two figure sums” for major permanent injuries. After the agency was formed, she said, the amounts paid were more substantial. Her association has around 250 members.

Mrs McCready and her husband were both off duty RUC officers when the IRA shot them in Lurgan in 1976. They both survived but she still suffers serious injuries from bullet fragments in her liver and shoulder.

“We call this issue the unfinished Patton Report,” she said.

In 1999 Chris Patton published a report which formed the basis of transforming the RUC into the PSNI. But Hazel says police officers seriously injured pre-1982 fell through the gaps of the report.

“Patton said that they were unfairly if not unjustly treated. We have been fighting many years to try and have this resolved.”

Mrs McCready raised the issue at her first meeting with Ms Thompson.

“She was to follow it up and it didn’t happen. And then we met her again a few months later and she did then follow it up.”

“But I am not pleased until it is finalised. Every victims commissioner since the very first one has supposedly worked on this and nothing has been done. How can I be pleased until we get a result?”

Mrs McCready affirmed that she supports the call from 14 member groups of Innocent Victims United for the commissioner to resign.

But Ms Thompson told the News Letter that she will continue to advocate for the WPFA members to receive a recognition payment until progress is made.

“This is an important issue and over the last two years I have led a strong lobby into Westminster to make the case for better treatment of these officers and their families, on behalf of the association and of other individuals who have approached the commission,” she said.

“Most recently I have had very constructive meetings with Hazel McCready and colleagues from the association and we have agreed further joint action, as the only redress for these officers and their families is to seek a recognition payment as other court actions have sadly failed.

“I sympathise fully with their frustration at the lack of progress on this issue, but once again it is not in the gift of the commission to do other than continue to advocate vociferously for the association. I am committed to do this until we make progress.”