DETECTIVES from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch investigating the events of Bloody Sunday have announced today – the 42nd anniversary of the massacre – that they are to begin re-interviewing witnesses who gave evidence to the Saville Inquiry.
More than 1,000 witnesses, consisting of local people and former soldiers, are being asked to make statements as part of the criminal investigation.
A PSNI spokesperson said as part of the investigation, detectives were now seeking to make contact with and re-interview former British soldiers and civilians who gave evidence to the Saville Inquiry or who might have information about the events of 30 January 1972 in which 14 people were shot dead by British paratroopers and a similar number injured.
The PSNI spokesperson said police werei determined to conduct a “thorough, professional and effective investigation.”
The spokesperson added: “It is necessary to re-interview witnesses because police are precluded from using Saville testimony in a criminal investigation.
“The Police Service is determined to conduct a thorough, professional and effective investigation.
“Civilians and former solders are asked to contact the investigation team on 028 9025 9593 or by email to BloodySundayEnquiry@psni.pnn.police.uk.”
A series of notices are to be placed in local newspapers and other publications to encourage witnesses to come forward again.
The officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison, said: “From the outset we said this would be a lengthy and complicated process and we now have the additional resources in place and a clear investigative process to follow.
“For the investigation to be as comprehensive and effective as possible, police are asking for public support in the form of witnesses who gave evidence to the Saville Inquiry to now make statements to detectives.
“Contact has also been made with former military witnesses.
“During the Saville Inquiry it was ruled that anonymity was granted to any former soldier who gave evidence unless his name was clearly already in the public domain.
“That ruling does not automatically carry over to the current police investigation. Anonymity will be a matter for a future court to consider.”
He added: “Police want to assure all who engage with the investigation team that all matters will be treated in the strictest confidence and the support and welfare of witnesses are important considerations.
“It is our intention to conduct these inquiries as quickly as possible.”