The Police Ombudsman is to launch an investigation into the initial PSNI response outside the Greenvale Hotel on the night three teenagers lost their lives.
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has referred the case to the Ombudsman’s Office after it was revealed that the police officers who were first on the scene of the tragedy withdrew to await further support.
Lauren Bullock (17) from Donaghmore, Morgan Barnard (17) and Connor Currie (16), both from Dungannon, died following the crush at the Hotel as crowds of young people waited to gain entry to the venue on St Patrick’s Day.
Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: “The ongoing investigation into the tragic events at the Greenvale Hotel is active and wide ranging.
“As part of that investigation, it is right and proper that the actions of all those involved are considered.
“Part of the investigation has included a review of the initial police response.
“The first police officers arrived at the hotel grounds shortly after receiving the 999 report.
“Following their initial assessment they made attempts to establish more detail and information about what was happening and subsequently withdrew to await further police support.
“When the first ambulance arrived police moved forward in support of them.
“The timing and nature of police actions during this period require further investigation to fully establish the facts.
“The Chief Constable has therefore decided that the initial police response should be subject to independent scrutiny and it is in the public interest to refer the circumstances and the nature of the actions of the first officers arriving at the scene to the Police Ombudsman.
“The families have been informed of the referral.
“The confidence of the families and the confidence of the communities we serve are at the forefront of our minds in our decision to refer this matter to the Police Ombudsman.
“We will work with the Ombudsman to support whatever action he undertakes and would ask that people do not speculate or prejudge the outcome of the Ombudsman’s investigation.”