PSNI given funding responsibility for Historical Enquiries Team
The head of the team reviewing all Troubles killings has criticised a decision to hand over funding responsibility to the police.
Dave Cox, director of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), said it could mean hundreds of murders may not be re-examined.
The department of justice recently refused a request from HET for £10m.
Instead it asked the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to provide the money from its reserves.
When it was established eight years ago, HET was given the task of reviewing more than 3,200 deaths during the Troubles.
It still has 950 killings to investigate and had asked the department of justice for the extra money to cover funding for the next two years.
Mr Cox said he is worried the decision could jeopardise its independence and deter families who do not want former RUC or PSNI officers involved in their investigations.
"Independence is a crucial issue in those cases, and families, some of them accept us, some of them don't, but they certainly wouldn't accept us if we were the PSNI because that is just the history of this place," he said.
In a statement, the department of justice said the HET's work is a priority, and its intention is that the work will continue.