UVF handed PSNI database

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In a major incident of potential collusion, elements within the PSNI have passed on to loyalist paramilitaries the details and electronic data of hundreds of people who they have been spying on.

A pen drive containing the database was inserted into a device which had been removed for investigation and subsequently returned to the paramilitaries. Among those whose details are now in the hands of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) are political and business figures.

Loyalists have been bragging about the data trove to the media. “The IRA had to go to the trouble of breaking into Castlereagh, we’ve been handed this information without having to leave the house,” one told the Irish News. “It raises the question what are the PSNI doing with this kind of information in the first place.”

One west Belfast business owner has said he had been “traumatised” by the news that his company’s private security information was given to the UVF. Others who have previously been targeted by loyalist gangs fear they have access to their personal information and communications.

Human rights lawyer Niall Murphy, a partner with of KRW Law, said he would be preparing an action for a number of clients. He expected they would shortly be contacted by the PSNI.

“We have been inundated with instructions from people who fear that their details may have been leaked to loyalist paramilitaries,” Mr Murphy said. “These range from a variety of concerned sources, including individuals who have pursued previous litigation in respect of their personal details having been previously disclosed to loyalist paramilitaries.”

He said they had also received instructions from organisations concerned that their private business communications had been accessed without a search warrant.

Public concern over renewed PSNI collusion with the UVF comes after a wave of unchecked UVF violence linked to the removal of two controversial bonfires ten days ago.

Significantly, the PSNI has not made any arrests or searched a single property in connection with the disturbances. The force was accused of facilitating the UVF actions by closing roads and railway lines with little justification - one hoax device consisted only of a section of wire taped loosely to an empty gas cylinder.

Sinn Fein’s Linda Dillon said she was seeking an urgent meeting with the PSNI.

“This scale and nature of this breach is shocking and will cause huge concern to those affected,” she said.

“I will be demanding a rigorous investigation into this scandal. People deserve answers and they need to know that measures will be taken to ensure this never happens again.

“Those affected also need reassurance that whatever steps are required to ensure their safety are put in place.”

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