THE senior PSNI officer in charge of combating dissident republican terrorists said detectives are making progress in the hunt for Constable Ronan Kerr’s murder.
Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, head of Crime Operations Branch, welcomed today’s sentence of Omagh terrorist Gavin Coyle for ten years for having a terrorist arsenal as a “significant milestone”.
The arms and explosives, which included assault rifles and Semtex, were uncovered by detectives from Serious Crime Branch in premises at Mountjoy Road, Coalisland three days after the murder of Constable Ronan Kerr in April 2011.
ACC Harris said: “The Mountjoy Road arms find is one of the biggest in recent years.
“On one very important level, it has saved lives and significantly disrupted a terrorist group.
“On another, more strategic level, it forms part of the police investigation into a series of linked incidents which include Constable Kerr’s murder in Omagh on 2 April 2011.
“Although we have yet to bring charges for Ronan’s murder, this investigation, which is the largest in the PSNI’s history, is far from over.
“Detectives in Serious Crime Branch have linked a total of 17 incidents to the same network of individuals and terrorist groupings.
“These include attempts to murder other police officers, a bomb attack, arms finds and armed robberies.
“We have made progress and we believe there is potential to bring other individuals before the courts.
“But we are not complacent. We recognise the considerable challenges remaining in this lengthy and complicated investigation.
“We will continue to pursue a comprehensive forensic strategy through all the strands of these linked incidents to ensure we maximise their investigative potential.
“In conclusion, I want to thank our partners across the entire criminal justice and security networks in Britain, the Republic and the United States for their continued assistance in this developing investigation.”
Since the investigation into the series of linked incidents began on 2 April 2011, the inquiry has:
* seized 7,947 items;
* featured 13,936 individuals in the investigation;
* generated 11,748 investigative actions;
* resulted in 123 searches of houses, vehicles and land;
* made 14 arrests
Police inquiries are continuing and anyone with information about the murder of Constable Kerr or dissident republican activity is asked to ring 0845 600 8000 or they can pass information anonymously and in confidence to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.