THE RUC OMBUDSMAN
Sir, - The problems of complaints against the RUC is: how does one collect evidence against RUC officers in a situation ruled by Special Legislation, the Emergency Provisions Act and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, under which arrested persons can be isolated at country crossroads or city side streets and ill treated, with no witnesses except the police officers who saw nothing and heard nothing except the prisoner "attacking" the seven or eight large RUC men or inflicting injuries on himself?
The same blank wall confronts investigators in detention centres, where prisoners are isolated for five or seven days. Even when confronted with injuries inflicted by plastic baton rounds, there is, no possibility of finding out what happened. The only hope is videos with sound, the use of which is forbidden in RUC stations when they are questioning arrested mend about political crime and scheduled offences. John Stalker and Superintendent Stevens met with blank walls.
I have submitted 2,000 complaints, without a single success. This was not the fault of the RUC officers who investigate them: they were courteous, painstaking and efficient, but they met denials at the various stations. The same can be said of the Independent Commission for Police Complaints, a hardworking and pains taking body.
No government or judicial system will let down its police force. Since 1968, not a single RUC officer has spent a day in jail for killing persons while on duty, with his legally held guns, lead and plastic: nor for ill treating persons arrested under emergency legislation. An official complaint gives an RUC man the right to full legal protection, and he has strong political support.
I wish every success to the Ombudsman, but he may not succeed. Only decent professional RUC officers determined to do their duty, despite British or Orange or Masonic pressures, will solve the problem - and there is an increasing number of these. If one makes private complaints to these honourable men, the unjust and inhuman treatment will cease. The guilty will be disciplined, but not convicted. - Yours, etc.,
St Patrick's Academy,