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PSNI say 'no immediate threat' to lab's murder archives

By Julian O'Neill
BBC News NI Home Affairs Correspondent

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  • The Troubles
image captionAs well as holding evidence on historical killings, the Seapark base is home to crime labs run by Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI)

The police have said there is "no immediate threat" of damage to their murder archives, after the discovery of major roof problems at a key facility in Carrickfergus.

As well as holding evidence on historical killings, the Seapark base is home to crime labs run by Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI).

Some FSNI staff are being relocated within the site as a precaution.

It said any impact on its work "will be minimised as far as possible".

The roof issue was recently detected within the 50-year-old complex and is most pronounced in an area housing the PSNI's fleet transport workshop.

It is having to move at an estimated cost of £450,000.

However the repair bill - and the full scale of the problem - will not be known for a number of weeks, pending further assessments.

Some politicians and lawyers have sought assurances about the part of the inter-linked complex used to store records and exhibits related to the Troubles.

image captionThe building is at Seapark in Carrickfergus

Solicitor Kevin Winters of KRW Law has written to the PSNI on behalf of the family of Brian Frizzell, a man murdered by the UVF in 1991.

His killing is subject to an ongoing Police Ombudsman inquiry.

Mr Winters sought "an unequivocal undertaking" exhibits are not "at risk of destruction, interference or loss".

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly also raised the issue at the Policing Board on Thursday, recalling that many years ago records had been destroyed at Gough Barracks in Armagh, with the reason given as contamination by asbestos.

"We do not need another controversy around legacy," he said.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne told him: "If we need to do anything around the archives it will be done under extreme scrutiny so we are not accused of losing anything in transit."

image captionChief Constable Simon Byrne said there are no plans at present to move the archive

There are no plans at present to move the archive.

He added it was an example of part of the police estate "falling down around our ears."

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