The PSNI have confirmed that the investigation into Bloody Sunday is to be ‘reduced or delayed’ as a result of budget cuts.
In a statement, a spokesperson from the PSNI said the majority of the investigation team were on temporary contracts and will be among those losing their posts because the police service must make budgets cuts of £51.4 million.
Investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison has vowed to meet with the families within days.
He said: “We are faced with an extremely challenging set of circumstances which may well result in a reduced investigation or a delayed investigation. These are circumstances outside our control.”
DCI Harrison added that he sympathises with the families ‘disappointment and anger at this development’.
One of those family members, John Kelly whose 17-year-old brother Michael was among those killed, said police were due to start interviewing soldiers on October 6.
“This is a major blow. This investigation is the last part of the journey that the families have been on, yet it looks like justice is going to be denied.”
“A lot of the families put their trust in this investigation being seen through to the end and that trust has been broken.”
He called on the Westminster government to pay for the police investigation into Bloody Sunday and into all other historical investigations.
The Bloody Sunday Trust also issued a statement calling for Westminster to pay for the continuation of the investigation.
“The Bloody Sunday Trust are appalled at news that the PSNI investigation into the murder of fourteen people in Derry has fallen foul of budget cuts – just weeks before they were due to begin questioning soldiers involved.
“This probe was the first ever police investigation to be conducted into the January 1972 massacre and, as such, was of vital importance not just to the bereaved and injured, but to many in the entire city and region. Local families have been devastated by this news, and the Trust will continue to offer support and assistance at this difficult time.”
The Trust also questioned whether the investigation should ever have been paid for through local funding.
Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney said: “There must be no scaling down of this investigation and I am calling on the PSNI to ensure it is properly resourced so that the families can get justice at long last.
“Access to justice should not come with a price tag.”
He added: “Sinn Féin will continue to support the Bloody Sunday families in their campaign for truth and justice.”