The final report following Operation Kenova is “effectively ready for publication”, the new Northern Ireland police chief has said.
Jon Boutcher, who led the independent investigation into the activities of Stakeknife – the Army’s top agent in Northern Ireland during the Troubles – has since become chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
Mr Boutcher said that some of the families involved in the investigation had congratulated him on his appointment, and that none had raised concern over any potential conflict of interest.
“Had I not taken this role, I would have no influence on the Kenova report because I have submitted it to the PSNI,” he said.
“The report is effectively now ready for publication. It’s been through all the various due diligence legally.”
Mr Boutcher said he was “fiercely defensive” of the independence of Kenova, adding that he would not have any role in the current progress of the report.
“That will take its course, I can’t give you a date, but we’ve been working on that report for a long time, and it’s now at the period of time where it is ready to be published,” he said.
“That is entirely with the PSNI deputy chief constable Chris Todd, and I know he’ll be having meetings on that, and I have rightfully recused myself from that.”
He added: “I never walked away from anything in my entire service and I will not walk away from those families. I have spoken to three families this morning because they rang me about this appointment.
“The response from the Kenova families to me and this job has been huge … they have been incredible, and what they’ve been through and how badly they’ve been let down over many years by many different organisations should never be forgotten.
“When the Kenova Report comes out, I think their story will be understood and that’s a really important story to be told.”