HC Deb 20 December 1999 vol 341 c406W
Mr. Corbyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on his discussions with the Royal Ulster Constabulary Chief Constable in respect of recommendations 20, 21 and 22 of the Macpherson Inquiry report regarding procedures, record keeping and policy directive adherence at scenes of crime. [101858]

Mr. Ingram

[holding answer 8 December 1999]: Following the publication of the Macpherson Report, discussions took place on a tripartite basis between representatives of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Police Authority for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Office to consider the implications of the Report in the wider context of policing in Northern Ireland.

In relation to recommendation 20, the RUC is acutely aware of the importance of effective co-ordination of police resources and activity at major incidents. Consequently all existing Force orders, manuals of guidance and policy are being distilled into generic procedures which will ensure clear roles and lines of responsibility.

On recommendation 21, the experience gained by the RUC in three decades of investigating major crime has resulted in tried and tested procedures. There are current RUC Force instructions concerning records made by individual officers and specialist units in relation to their functions and strict rules require the retention of all such records as long as an investigation remains open.

As for recommendation 22, the RUC in line with GB constabularies is to obtain an updated version of HOLMES (Home Office Large Major Enquiry System) and the resourcing requirements are addressed in the draft ACPO Major Incident Room Standardised Agreed Procedures (MIRSAP). These guidelines, which should be confirmed early in the new year, will define the resources necessary to operate HOLMES investigations. A Detective Inspector is dedicated to the overall supervision of all HOLMES units deployed throughout the RUC, which includes checking on the adequacy of resources and that difficulties are reported.