PSNI apologise over body parts

PSNI apologise over body parts

Police in the North have apologised for failing relatives after they stored human body parts from people who died under suspicious circumstances.

Sixty-four crime victims had tissue retained and around a third were Troubles-related deaths. Most were murdered, police said.

Investigators kept human tissue and body parts as evidence from 1960 to 2005, with some held for substantial periods and without any need to secure the consent of families.

Police Service of Northern Ireland assistant chief constable George Hamilton said: “The systemic failure that allowed this to happen pre-2006 now cannot happen.

“That is not to say that an individual somewhere may not make a mistake.

“The system and processes that did not exist are now in place as part of the audit.”

He added that police had not broken the law but conceded: “There is a huge difference between being legal and doing the right thing in ethical and moral terms.

“Some of these families have been in a bad way because of lack of information. On behalf of the police service and the chief constable, we apologise for the upset that may have been caused.”

Most samples were kept in the state pathologist’s laboratory but 11 were retained by police.


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