§ Mr. Caborn
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps have been taken to reassure the nationalist population of Northern Ireland that links between the security forces in Northern Ireland and loyalist paramilitaries do not exist.
§ Sir John Wheeler
Allegations of collusion between members of the security forces in Northern Ireland and loyalist paramilitaries were thoroughly investigated in 1989 by Mr. John Stevens, then deputy chief constable of Cambridgeshire. As a result of his investigation, a number of persons were charged with criminal offences and convicted.
The Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Sir Hugh Annesley, published a summary of Mr. Stevens' report in 1990. The report concluded that collusion was neither widespread nor institutionalised.
The security forces in Northern Ireland carry out their duties in protecting the whole community with absolute impartiality. This is well illustrated by the figures relating to charges for terrorist-type offences. Last year alone 230 persons affiliated to loyalist paramilitary groups were charged with terrorist-type offences. The figure for republican terrorism was 137. This very fact alone should serve to reassure the Catholic community of the impartiality of the security forces in Northern Ireland.