Troubles inquiry focusing too much on police and army, says James Brokenshire

Northern Ireland secretary praises security forces who served with distinction and warns that inquiry is not working

The Northern Ireland secretary has said investigations into killings during the Troubles are disproportionately focusing on members of the police and army.

James Brokenshire said inquiries were not working and backed the vast majority of soldiers and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) as having served with distinction.

The Police Service of Northern Irelands legacy investigation branch is investigating more than 3,200 killings in the province between 1969 and 2004.

Numerous former soldiers are facing prosecution for killings, including Dennis Hutchings, 75, from Cornwall, who has been charged with the attempted murder of a man with learning difficulties in 1974.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Brokenshire said: I am clear the current system is not working and we are in danger of seeing the past rewritten.

It is also clear the current focus is disproportionately on those who worked for the state former members of the armed forces and the RUC, the vast majority of whom served in Northern Ireland with great courage, professionalism and distinction.

I believe that with political will an agreement is within reach to deal with this important and sensitive issue.

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