PSNI to review over 34 years of CCTV footage during investigation at Muckamore Abbey Hospital

The police investigation into the abuse allegations at Muckamore Abbey Hospital is expected to continue next year as detectives review more than 34 years of CCTV footage.

The astonishing figure was revealed on the third day of the Inquiry Public Hearing when PSNI Counsel Mark Robinson QC laid out the details of Operation Turnstone.

This comes after lawyer Andrew McGuinness issued an apology on behalf of the Department of Health “for the appalling behavior revealed” in two official reports on the investigation of conditions at Macamor Abbey.

He also said that the findings of the reports “reflect a practice that is far from acceptable”.

Providing details of the ongoing police investigation, Mr Robinson QC said detectives had collected more than 300,000 hours of CCTV footage from inside the hospital.

He continued: “PSNI’s Public Defense Unit is handling the largest adult protection investigation in the UK.”

Mr Robinson QC said the timeline under consideration for Operation Turnstone runs from March to November 2017 and detectives are in constant interaction with oversight bodies, including the Nursing and Midwifery Board and the General Medical Council. to identify any security related issues.

“They want to prevent further incidents during the investigation,” he continued.

“Clearly, the police recovered about 300,000 hours of evidence from CCTV cameras and, according to a rough estimate, amounts to 34.2 years of footage.

“The police are continuing to study this footage and the exercise is expected to continue throughout this year and into 2023.”

He told investigators that eight staff members are due to appear in court next week in connection with allegations of abuse and willful neglect of patients in a psychiatric intensive care unit.

Other alleged offenses include false imprisonment and ordinary assault, he said.

Decisions on the cases of 30 other employees are due to be returned by the prosecutor’s office in due course, while criminal interrogations continue and are expected to continue next year.

Earlier, Mr McGuinness said allegations of employee abuse against a patient came to light in 2017 and were brought to the attention of the Department of Health.

He explained that there was a recording from a surveillance camera.

“The Department has raised concerns with the Belfast Trust about the processing and reporting of the allegations, and further concerns have been raised following a retrospective review of CCTV footage.”

Mr McGuinness said the Belfast Trust had ordered a Level 3 Serious Adverse Incident (SAI) review, which was completed in December 2018.

In response to this report, Richard Pengelli, then permanent secretary of the Department of Health, and Northern Ireland’s chief social worker attended a meeting with a number of families affected by allegations of violence.

Since there was no health minister in office at the time, Mr Pengelly apologized to the families at the meeting.

“He was shocked and outraged that vulnerable people were let down,” Mr McGuinness said.

“At the same time, he pointed to the need for urgent action by the health and social care system in general in response to the report’s recommendations.”

A subsequent independent review conducted to investigate governance concerns not addressed by the SAI’s review found that “it is clear that there were failures in care at Muckamore that resulted in harm to patients,” the investigation said.

Mr. McGuinness also told the court that only half of the recommendations made by the SAI’s review and peer review team have been fully implemented to date.