The Forum for Victims and Survivors have met with the Chief Constable Simon Byrne to discuss his recent decision to temporarily halt the PSNI work on Legacy Investigations and welcomed his intention to restart the Legacy Investigations Branch early in May.
Commissioner for Victims and Survivors Judith Thompson said, ‘It was most important that the Commission and The Victims and Survivors met with the Chief Constable today to discuss legacy matters, and the vital need for a victim and survivor centred approach in relation to ongoing legacy investigations.’
During the meeting members of the Victims and Survivors Forum talked more widely on Legacy issues and agreed that the current policing architecture was not designed to support legacy investigations.
Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “It is important that a properly resourced process is created to deal with legacy issues that has broad support from across Northern Ireland. Many people, including members of my own service, suffered many forms of harm during the Troubles and we in the Police Service NI will not forget that suffering or the impact that is has on the present. As a service we are committed to providing the best possible service to all victims and their families. We recognise that the existing system is not working for anyone and welcome any attempts to better meet the needs of those who lost loved ones and address the issue of ‘Legacy’ in a manner that allows our society to move forward.”
The Forum members present impressed on the Chief Constable that those who lost their lives during the conflict will never be forgotten and those who continue to suffer will not have their needs forgotten or their voices dismissed. The Chief Constable agreed and responded that he was looking into setting up a dedicated family liaison team within the LIB and was committed to trauma training that would underpin a compassionate, respectful and proactive approach to those with whom the PSNI legacy team engage. He reflected that the Forum were a very powerful voice for Victims and Survivors and committed to regular face to face meetings to discuss all aspects of Legacy as they affect the PSNI future service delivery.
The Commissioner and the Forum for Victims and Survivors shared with the Chief Constable why it is to the benefit of all of civic society in these islands to understand the needs of victims and survivors of the Troubles. As their issues, are issues for everyone, everywhere throughout the population. The future of a vibrant economy is dependent on good health, a responsible civic society, educated and adjusted young people as well as an infrastructure that is free from the influence of the Conflict.
For further information contact Shelia Davidson 07785793672