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DUP East Belfast MLA and Policing Board member Joanne Bunting has pressed for assurances from Jon Boutcher that the criminal investigation into activities related to the agent code named Stakeknife will not revert to being another inquiry focused solely on the role of the state.

Commenting after meeting with Mr Boutcher, who is leading Operation Kenova, today, Ms Bunting said:

‘‘In the past week we learned of the PPS decision not to prosecute four individuals as part of the first files prepared by Operation Kenova. I was keen to hear Jon Boutcher’s assessment of how this decision will affect the preparation of files for the remaining cases, which allegedly relate to more serious offences. We welcome his view that prosecutions are not out of reach.

The decisions reached to date relate to actions of public servants and could be subject to judicial review. We also believe former Prime Ministers, Secretaries of State, military leaders and security service directors have all been interviewed as part of the investigation. The public rightly seek assurances that this will not end up in yet another inquiry disproportionately focused on the actions of the State or hampered by political expedience.

Ultimately Operation Kenova is an opportunity to shed light on the activities of terrorists. That is exactly where the focus should remain.’’