Report into activities of top IRA informer Stakeknife to be published in March

Report Into Activities Of Top Ira Informer Stakeknife To Be Published In March
Stakeknife was widely believed to be west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci, who was in his 70s when he died last year. Photo: BBC/PA
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By Jonathan McCambridge, PA

A long-awaited report into the activities of Stakeknife – the British army’s top agent in the North during the Troubles – will be published on March 8th, the PSNI has confirmed.

Temporary deputy chief constable Chris Todd said police and the UK's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) have had to satisfy themselves that the report will not prejudice any ongoing investigations ahead of publication.


Stakeknife worked within the IRA’s notorious “nutting squad”, interrogating suspected informers during the Troubles.

His alleged activities were investigated as part of Kenova, which examined crimes such as murder and torture and the role played by the security services, including MI5.

Stakeknife was widely believed to be west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci, who was in his 70s when he died last year.

The report was handed over to the PSNI last year.


PSNI data breach
Jon Boutcher authored the Operation Kenova report before he took up the position of PSNI chief constable (Liam McBurney/PA)

It was authored by Jon Boutcher but he has since taken up position as PSNI chief constable and has recused himself from involvement in its publication.

Former chief constable of Police Scotland Sir Iain Livingstone replaced Mr Boutcher as head of Operation Kenova.


Answering a question at a public meeting of the Policing Board, Mr Todd said: “You will be aware that the report has been written, it sits with us, we’ve confirmed before there’s no changes or redactions to that report.

“It is as authored as an independent report.”

The senior officer said responsibility sat with himself to decide when it would be published.



He said: “We’re very mindful that there was a protocol that’s been written by the operation Kenova team itself, which stipulates the conditions that need to be met before publication and we’re working through that very carefully.

“Without going into the detail, one of the primary considerations there is we need to satisfy ourselves that there’s no prejudice to any ongoing investigations with the PPS.


“So, working very closely with the Director of Public Prosecutions and working very closely with the head of the Kenova team, now we have come to a position where, notwithstanding there are still some decisions to be made on crucial investigations by PPS, we understand what their timelines are.

“We also understand that the best thing for justice and for the families is to understand what those decisions are, first and foremost, followed by the publication of the report, but balancing that with the unsettling nature of the uncertainty around the publication that that will undoubtedly have on those families and victims and the need to provide transparency and be clear and give some reassurance around the publication.

“So I have now got an agreement with the DPP, the head of the Kenova team, that we can move to publication on March 8 this year.”

PSNI data breach
SDLP Policing Board member Mark H Durkan welcomed clarification over when the report would be published (Liam McBurney/PA)

SDLP board member Mark H Durkan said his thoughts were with victims, survivors and their families.

He added: “I welcome the confirmation that it is now intended to publish the Kenova Report on March 8.

“There was a need for certainty on publication for victims and survivors. It is welcome that they have ended the uncertainty around publication.

“Operation Kenova is a vital element in addressing the legacy of our past.

“The decision of the PPS to date not to prosecute anyone for anything arising from the Kenova investigations has denied families justice and the publication of the report must now provide truth and accountability around the horrific actions of people in state agencies and terror groups.”

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