18 November 2005

PSNI tapes found in bin

Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds of police interview cassettes dumped in Belfast

By Debra Douglas
18 November 2005

Calls were last night made for a full investigation into why hundreds of cassettes thought to be recordings of police interviews with defendants were dumped in a city centre bin.

More than 300 tapes and covers with the names of police officers and defendants were discovered in a large city centre bin by a security guard, prompting Ulster Unionist Jim Rodgers to call for an explanation.

"This is very alarming and deeply disturbing and I am calling for a full- scale investigation into this," he said.

"All of us are conscious, even in these so-called days of peace, that security is of paramount importance and I want to know why such tapes were simply discarded in a bin.

"There needs to be an inquiry and I want to know the outcome of it.

"I'm sure other members of the public will also be asking the same questions about this."

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the guard, who asked not to be named, said: "There was about 300 tapes in the bin. I couldn't believe it.

"There were RUC cassettes and PSNI ones that said the names of police officers and the name of a defendant.

"All of them had been cut, but it's not something you expect to see, especially in a bin on a side street where there are a lot of druggies and alcos."

After the discovery was reported to the police by the Belfast Telegraph, the tapes were removed.

A PSNI spokesman said the tapes had been given to a solicitor in the area.

He added: "The tapes were supplied by the PSNI to the solicitor as required by legislation to assist them in the defence of their clients.

"The care and disposal of these tapes are a matter for the solicitor."

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