The administrative scheme for "on-the-runs" - Northern Ireland Affairs Contents


Appendix 2: Operation Rapid Terms of Reference


Op Rapid is the operational name for the review of persons circulated as 'wanted' by the PSNI in connection with terrorist related offences up to the 10 April 1998.

Head of Branch C2 will have the responsibility to undertake this review with the purpose of identifying those individuals for whom a legal basis remains to seek their arrest based upon: -

·  Existing evidence, the integrity of which would withstand a legal challenge within a judicial process in Northern Ireland; or

·  Reasonable suspicion of committing serious crime in Northern Ireland, such suspicion being based upon a standard which meets current Human Rights standards; or

·  Being unlawfully at large having escaped from custody or failed to return to prison from parole or having failed to surrender to a court as a condition of the granting of bail.

The Terms of Reference for Operation Rapid were as follows:

1. Responsibility for the completion of the review will rest with the Head of Branch C2, who will have the support of other Crime Operation Departments in undertaking supporting work in respect of reviewing intelligence and forensic exhibits.

2. A small team of investigators of 1 D/C/Inspector, 2 D/Sergeants and 3 civilian assistant investigators will be formed to work on the review.

3. The review will be conducted under terms of confidential reporting in order to prevent a misinterpretation of the purpose of this review.

4. Assistant Chief Constable, Crime Operations will supply a list of those individuals identified to the PSNI as having requested information as to their status with the PSNI as a 'wanted person'.

5. Each offence will be reviewed on an individual basis; although where a number of separate offences have been identified relating to one individual these will be grouped together to enable a collective assessment of intelligence, forensic and other evidence to be made.

6. The Head of Branch C2 will make a recommendation in respect of each individual in one of the following terms:-

a)  Wanted for arrest for …… offence(s) on the following grounds:-

i)  Intelligence exists which is of such a required grade, which has been assessed as to support a reasonable suspicion to be formed that 'X' committed the offence for which he/she has been circulated.

ii)  Evidence exists which supports reasonable suspicion that 'X' committed the offence for which he/she has been circulated. This evidence has been reviewed and has been assessed as retaining its integrity and would withstand a legal challenge within a judicial process in Northern Ireland.

iii)  Forensic evidence directly links 'X' to the offence for which he/she has been circulated. Such forensic evidence has been reviewed and it has been assessed that its integrity in terms of scene recovery, continuity of handling, scientific examination and subsequent storage is such that it would withstand a legal challenge within a judicial process in Northern Ireland.

iv)  An international warrant has been issued by another jurisdiction for 'X' and is in possession of the PSNI on behalf of the United Kingdom legal authority. Clarification has been made with the issuing jurisdiction and the warrant for arrest remains valid and enforceable.

v)  Wanted for arrest as 'X' has escaped from lawful custody, failed to return to prison for a period of parole or failed to surrender to a court as a condition of the granting of bail.

b)  No longer wanted for arrested for…Offence(s) on the following ground:-

i)  Original intelligence in respect of the offence has been reviewed and deemed to be of a grade that would not support a reasonable suspicion being formed that 'X' committed the offence for which he/she has been circulated.

ii)  Original intelligence in respect of the offence cannot be released to the review team due to National Security considerations and therefore cannot be released to an SIO. It has been assessed in these circumstances that a reasonable suspicion based upon disclosed information to support an arrest cannot be made at this case.

iii)  The personal details of 'X' cannot conclusively be connected with the personal details of the person currently identified as being wanted. In such circumstances a reasonable suspicion to arrest 'X' cannot be formed at this point.

iv)  There are reasonable grounds to arrest 'X' for the offence(s) of …… however, it has been assessed in consultation with the PPS that the conduct of the PSNI in addressing the detention and apprehension of 'X' is such that to act at this stage would be in contravention of Art 6 of the ECHR in respect of abuse of process.

v)  The offence of[…] allegedly committed by 'X' is statute barred or in the view of the PPS the case is of such a minor nature that there is no reasonable prospect of a prosecution being sustained after a prolonged period of time.

7. The Head of Branch C2 will ensure that a proper detailed record auditing the review and decision making process in respect of each individual is made and retained.

8. The Head of Branch C2 will expeditiously undertake this review and will submit responses to individual cases as soon as an accurate assessment can be made.


 
previous page contents next page


© Parliamentary copyright 2015
Prepared 24 March 2015