The investigation into the murder 14 people on Bloody Sunday is to be ‘reduced or delayed’ as a result of budget cuts to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
The police have been forced to make budget cuts of £51.4 million for the rest of this year and recently announced that more than 300 civilian jobs will be cut.
The extent of the cuts to the PSNI are to be outlined at a meeting of the Policing Board this afternoon.
It has been confirmed to the ‘Journal’ that the cuts will have a ‘substantial’ effect on the Bloody Sunday Investigation.
A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “As a result of current severe financial pressures, the Serious Crime Branch team investigating the deaths of people on 30 January 1972 in Derry has been advised it will be losing the majority of its investigation team.
“Many of these staff were former officers employed on contracts. This will have a substantial impact on the investigation.”
The investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison, said he would be seeking clarification from his commanders about options for a way forward for the investigation.
DCI Harrison said: “We are faced with an extremely challenging set of circumstances which may well result in a reduced investigation or a delayed investigation.
He added: “These are circumstances outside our control. We will be working to ascertain where and how our investigation sits along with our other commitments in serious crime investigations past and present.”
DCI Harrison said he has spoken to the relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday and has agreed to meet with them within days.
He said he sympathises ‘with their disappointment and anger at this development’.
For more see tomorrow’s Journal.