The PSNI is to launch a murder investigation into the 1972 Bloody Sunday deaths in Derry - a probe that could take up to four years to complete.
The move - details of which emerged yesterday - comes after the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service reviewed the findings of the Saville Inquiry which said none of those killed was armed.
The new police investigation is expected to involve a team of up to 30 detectives.
The Saville Inquiry concluded that the Parachute Regiment had fired the first shots and were to blame for what happened in the Bogside on January 30, 1972.
British Prime Minister David Cameron subsequently issued an apology, describing what happened as “both unjustified and unjustifiable”.
Some relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims have consistently argued that they want the soldiers responsible to be prosecuted for murder and attempted murder.
John Kelly, whose brother Michael was among those killed, described the new move as “a step forward”.
“This is another step in the right direction,” he said. “It would be the end of the journey for us to see these soldiers brought to justice. The fact that the word murder is now being used is significant for us. I am looking forward to seeing the murderers of our loved ones being prosecuted in court.”
However, he also voiced concerns about the timeframe of the investigations: “The majority of the work has already been done by Saville. It should just be a matter of arresting these soldiers.”
Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris told the Northern Ireland Policing Board yesterday: “It will be a large investigation obviously and setting aside the resources to properly start that and take that forward is a corporate issue which is under investigation at this time.
“There is not the expertise free and available to undertake an investigation of this size and that is why we are faced with dilemmas around prioritisation.
“The special resources required for this scale of investigation are just not available at this moment to commence an investigation of this scale and length of time.”
Police have said no decision has been made as to when its investigation will start.