Confusion as Boutcher jumps horses
Confusion as Boutcher jumps horses


English police chief Jon Boutcher who has been investigating British state collusion for seven years has expressed “absolute support” for the police in the north of Ireland after being named the interim PSNI chief here.

For seven years, Boutcher has led ‘Operation Kenova’, the supposedly independent police investigation into the ‘Stakeknife’ double agent estimated to have been involved in up to 40 killings as part of a British ‘Dirty War’ agenda.

In an email and video sent to staff, Boutcher said he felt privileged to be appointed to lead the force and conveyed his “best wishes” to the PSNI’s 10,000 members and civilian personnel.

Boutcher said he recognised the ‘unique challenges’ of leading the PSNI, and encouraged officers to focus on “doing what we do best”.

The militarised police force continues to face accusations of institutional and systemic sectarianism and racism, more than 20 years after it emerged from a makeover of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Catholic children in British-occupied Ireland continue to be twice as likely as Protestant children to be stopped or strip-searched in the street by the PSNI, and four times more likely to end up in custody.

After four difficult years, Simon Byrne resigned as PSNI chief last month amid continuing controversies over the mistreatment of nationalists and increasing political criticism by unionists.

Boutcher said he will continue to act ‘in support’ of Operation Kenova as part of his new role. He said that in order to safeguard Kenova’s interests, he had appointed another officer, Iain Livingstone, to his old position.

The Operation Kenova report is currently being edited by the PSNI as part of a ‘national security’ process and is expected to be published in the coming months.

It is expected to show that senior British state figues were fully aware of the series of killings carried out by west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci, including those of innocent civilians and republicans falsely identified as informers.

“In no way should my appointment affect that report,” Boutcher declared.

“The contractual agreement was if all of those legal stages were correctly fulfilled that it would then be published by the PSNI,” he said. “Of course any report published by any organisation has to go through its own governance structures.”

Sinn Féin policing spokesperson and Policing Board member Gerry Kelly welcomed the appointment but said he had a “a job of work to do to rebuild trust and confidence in the police”.

“Jon Boutcher is a very experienced police officer, he has recent experience of working here in the north and he is free to take up the reins with immediate effect,” he said.

“This is the time for all of us in political leadership, in the Policing Board and the PSNI to refocus on the task of delivering an efficient and effective policing service that works with and within the whole community impartially.”

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2023 Irish Republican News