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Northern Ireland Policing Board Press Release: Terms of Reference Agreed for the Investigation into the Omagh Bomb



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Text Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) ... Page Compiled: Brendan Lynn

Northern Ireland Policing Board Press Release:
Terms of Reference Agreed on 16th May 2002 for the Investigation into the Omagh Bomb

The following arrangements have been agreed between the Policing Board, the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Merseyside Police Authority and the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police in relation to the investigation into the Omagh Bomb.

1. The Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland is responsible for ensuring that all necessary steps are taken to bring the offenders to justice. Section 32(1)(D) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 refers.

2. A Management Board will be created to ensure that the investigation is run to the highest standards and that the External Senior Officer (ESO) from Merseyside Police is given the fullest support. The membership of the Board will be:

ACC North Region (Chair)
ESO and Deputy
SIO and Deputy

The Management Board will ensure that processes are put in place to, amongst other matters:

A. Liaise closely with the relatives

B. Liaise with other statutory agencies who have material relevant to the Enquiry.

C. Ensure that the ESO is able to fully carry out his responsibilities as laid out in the statement of the NIPB of 7th February 2002.

D. Brief the Chief Constable of the PSNI and the Deputy Chief Constable appointed by the Policing Board on developments.


3. ACC North Region will have a reporting line to the Chief Constable and in matters under the Terms of Reference to the Deputy Chief Constable from Merseyside police appointed by the Policing Board. ACC North Region will be required to report to the Corporate Policy Committee of the Policing Board on a bi-monthly basis and to the Board generally as required.

4. ACC North Region and the Senior Investigating Officer will have responsibility for implementing the recommendations of the Omagh Review Report. The officers from Merseyside will quality assure this task in line with their responsibilities under the statement of the NIPB of 7 February 2002.

5. The Senior Investigating Officer from the Police Service of Northern Ireland will have operational control of the investigation, with a direct reporting line to ACC North Region and a reporting line to the DCC appointed by the Policing Board on matters under his Terms of Reference.

6. The ESO will have responsibility for:

  • Scrutinising the current enquiry and the Omagh Bomb Review Report to ensure that all opportunities to gather evidence are maximised and that all recommendations relating to the Omagh investigation are fully addressed.
  • Exploring any outstanding lines of enquiry into potentially linked incidents identified in the Omagh Bomb Review Report.
  • Advising on the relevance of the investigative opportunities presented in connection with similar offences perpetrated in Northern Ireland in 1998.
  • Advising as to whether or not any such offences should be investigated separately or absorbed into the ongoing investigation.
  • Advising on whether or not the appointment of another officer to investigate these incidents is appropriate.
  • Identify any obstacles to progress.
  • The ESO should have access to all investigation relevant intelligence.

The ESO will be given direct access to the Chief Constable in respect of any matter of concern and will have a direct reporting line to ACC North but also the Chief Constable as identified above.

7. The DCC appointed by the Policing Board will, without operational control, have an overview of all matters. His role will be as follows:

  • To critically examine the resource and skill levels needed to satisfactorily conclude the investigation.
  • To undertake a quality assurance role, with particular reference to the content of the Omagh Bomb Review Report.
  • To monitor progress in the investigation including the implementation of the Omagh Bomb Review Report.
  • To identify any obstacles standing in the way of strategic guidance to the Board in relation to its responsibilities
  • To report to the Board at agreed intervals on the progress of PSNI's enquiry.

As outlined within the proposed Schedule, matters of particular significance would be communicated early, as necessary.


8. The Police Service of Northern Ireland will retain responsibility for and ownership of:

the investigation of the Omagh bombing or connected incidents..
the receipt of intelligence or evidence in relation to any such matters,
the liaison with the Omagh families,
dialogue and liaison with the Garda Siochana,
dialogue and liaison with the Ombudsman's Office.

Merseyside Police will act in a supportive and advisory capacity in pursuit of the above.

Signed :

Chairman Northern Ireland Policing Board: Professor Desmond Rea

Chairman Merseyside Police Authority: Carol Gustafson

Chief Constable Merseyside Police: Norman Bettison

Chief Constable, PSNI: Sam Kinkaid for CC

HMI Northern Ireland: Dan Crompton

 


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