Following the publication of the HMICFRS Report, The Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Simon Byrne said: “The global pandemic has presented insurmountable challenges for policing everywhere. In the context of new and rapidly changing legislation, we have always sought, with the best of intentions, to support our colleagues working in the health sector to protect the community by preventing the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

“We welcome the findings of today’s HMICFRS Inspection report, both in terms of the assurance it provides to the public, and the learning it identifies for the Police Service. We are committed to impartiality and are pleased that the report concludes that there was no bias in our handling of the funeral, and that the same approach would have been taken if the funeral was held within a different community. Furthermore, the HMICFRS report supports the principle of early engagement recommending that this practice continues.

“We are listening and are determined to work with the entire community to enhance confidence in policing as an impartial and even-handed service working hard to protect our citizens.

“There has been a high level of public interest in this matter. Today, we look to the way forward and to working within our oversight and accountability structures to enhance public trust in the Police Service. HMICFRS have made a number of recommendations, which will form part of the broader learning we have taken from policing the pandemic over the last 14 months."

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