5 Dec 2013

Northern Ireland police are investigating claims soldiers attached to an undercover unit in Belfast in the 1970s killed unarmed civilians.

Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris revealed the news to the Policing Board.

He said a previous investigation into the Military Reaction Force (MRF) had spoken to 350 witnesses and saw several soldiers questioned under caution.

Files had been sent to the then Director of Public Prosecutions.

He said following a Panorama programme last month, detectives were looking at the broadcast and reviewing the “very extensive” case papers.

The outcome would then be sent to the Public Prosecution Service for advice on any further steps.

“This is the start of the reinvestigation of this case,” Mr Harris said.

Panorama was told the MRF was tasked with “hunting down” IRA members in Belfast.

Three former MRF soldiers, who were speaking publicly for the first time, said that on some occasions they opened fire on targets in the streets of Belfast without actually seeing the person they shot holding a weapon.

Meanwhile, Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr told the Policing Board the unnamed organiser of last Saturday’s flags parade in Belfast city centre has been spoken to by police and will be prosecuted for breaches of the parades commission determination