Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton has apologised on behalf of the RUC for any police failings identified in Anthony Hart’s Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry Report saying that in the past there were no specialist units or officers trained in investigating child abuse.
He said the PSNI will take time to carefully read and consider the report’s recommendations.
“We co-operated fully with the Inquiry, including declassifying tens of thousands of documents, to help ensure the panel could conduct a thorough examination of relevant material, and as such, we welcome today’s report and fully accept the findings,” he said.
ACC Hamilton said sorry on behalf of the police.
“I apologise unreservedly for the police failings that have been identified within this report. I acknowledge that there were a number of occasions when a thorough police investigation could and should have been brought about which may have prevented more children from becoming victims. I also regret that we did not show the same rigour that we brought to the investigation in 1980 which led to three people being charged with offences relating to Kincora, brought before the court and convicted in 1981,” said the senior police officer.
“At that time the RUC, like other UK police services, had no specialist units or officers trained in investigating child abuse however, I would reassure everyone that our approach to dealing with child abuse has since changed radically, in line with best practice in modern policing, he added.
“Today, we have specially trained officers within the PSNI’s Public Protection Branch who work closely with our partner agencies on a daily basis to ensure a joined up approach to dealing with allegations of child abuse. This multi-agency approach is based on information sharing and joint police/ social care working which allows the agencies to effectively and promptly safeguard victims and potential victims,” said the Assistant Chief Constable.