14 October 2016 

Expert panels announced by Operation Kenova team


Two independent groups of experts have been announced by Chief Constable Jon Boutcher to support the investigation into the activities surrounding an alleged army agent known as Stakeknife.

An Independent Steering Group (ISG) comprising six well-respected figures within law enforcement internationally will provide a layer of critical scrutiny of the Operation Kenova investigation at a strategic level. This group will meet with Mr Boutcher and have access to the investigative strategy and provide advice and guidance regarding this challenging investigation throughout its duration. The group has been put together by Mr Boutcher as one of a number of investigative measures he is introducing to provide the very best opportunity for the investigation to succeed.

A further group has been put together to ensure Operation Kenova addresses the needs of the victims and their families, the Victims Focus Group (VFG). The VFG is to be made up of six independent victims’ champions with a wealth of experience representing the interests of survivors and victims’ families. The VFG will work closely with the Operation Kenova team to ensure the interests of the victims and their families remain at the centre of the investigation.

A dedicated phone line (01234 858298) and email address ( Kenova@met.police.uk ) were also launched today (Friday, 14 October), for potential victims’ families to contact the Operation Kenova team.

The announcements follow head of Operation Kenova, Chief Constable Boutcher, meeting a number of victims’ families, to update them on the appointments and also explain the next steps of the investigation.

Mr Boutcher said: “The purpose of the Independent Steering Group is twofold, firstly this incredibly experienced group of renowned investigators will ensure that I have exploited every possible evidential opportunity; each member of the group brings experiences of complex investigations that they have conducted, this will inevitably benefit Op Kenova. Secondly, the very existence of this very senior group will reassure victims, their families and the community that this investigation is being conducted with absolute rigour and that we will do everything that it is possible to get the evidence of how, why and by whom, these awful crimes were committed.

“It is important that I point out that these two groups are not required under any statutory or regulatory framework. I have decided to put these groups together to enable me to deliver a comprehensive and high-quality investigation for the families of the victims.

“We are at the beginning of his investigation and it is imperative that the foundations are laid correctly. I am incredibly grateful to the exceptional people who have agreed to be part of these two groups. The aim of both the ISG and VFG is to enhance public confidence in Operation Kenova and to assist me in guiding this investigation in such a way as to best achieve a position that will allow the truth of what happened to be fully discovered and bring those responsible to justice.

“I have met a number of families, and their representatives, which has been a very humbling experience. We will now begin the process of retrieving evidence from various organisations and establishing which murders fall within the Terms of Reference. The collection and analysis of the evidence will take some months, but I am determined to inform families as soon as possible as to whether the murder of their loved one falls within the investigation remit.

“I would appeal to anyone who has information which could assist the investigation, or thinks a case should be included, to contact the Operation Kenova team.”