Roy McComb

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Roy McComb is a former senior detective with the Police Service of Northern Ireland, who subsequently became Deputy Director for the National Crime Agency. In 2015 he was appointed to lead the investigation into long standing allegations of police corruption in relation to the original Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.

Police Career (RUC/PSNI)

  • 2000-2001: following a three-week undercover operation, Det. Insp. Roy McComb leads raids on a brothel in Lisburn. The undercover operation was authorised on the grounds the brothel was close to a leisure centre used by children.[2][3]
  • July 2001: leading investigation into murder of teenager Damien Duffy in Poleglass.[4]
  • April 2002 - June 2004: Detective Chief Inspector, PSNI. Senior Investigating Officer covering into murder, terrorism, organised crime, fraud and financial crime.[1]
  • April 2002 - February 2004: leads investigation into murder of baby 'Carrie', a newborn girl whose body was found at Carryduff.[5]
  • July 2002: leading investigation into death of David Spence.[6]
  • January 2003: leading investigation in shooting of Ulster Defence Association member Robert Hamill, and the hunt for his suspected killer, William "Billy the Boxer" Moore (connected to the C Company unit of Johnny Adair).[7][8]
  • March 2003: heads inquiry into murder of Paul Gault leading to the conviction of his wife (her conviction is overturned in October 2004) and her lover.[9][10]
  • May 2003: investigation of murder of paramilitary boss Jim "Jonty" Johnston, as part of a loyalist feud resulting in multiple deaths and attempted murders.[11] At the conviction of Robert John Benson Young for Johnston's killing, McComb had to personally intervene in a fight between rival loyalist gangs during the court hearing, to stop one man being thrown over a balcony.[12]
  • October 2004: conviction of Sean Burns ('a self-confessed anarchist' thought to be involved in gun-running for the IRA) for role in a international fraud ring.[13]
  • June 2004 - December 2007: Detective Superintendent and Senior Investigation Officer, PSNI. Held responsibility for murder, terrorism, organised crime, fraud and financial crime investigations.[1] Investigations he oversaw included:
  • June 2004: murder of Kevin Anthony McAlorum, possibly part of an internal INLA feud.[14] At the 2008 inquest it was alleged that a Special Branch informer was involved in the killing and that an intelligence dossier held by the police showed, according to McAlorum's family, that the killing could have been prevented; McComb denied all knowledge of any such dossier. The investigation itself saw 31 places raided and 13 arrests, though nobody was ever charged with the murder.[15] In 2011 the coroner found that no evidence to support the claim of involvement by up to three informers had been discovered.[16]
  • 2004: capture of murderer Thomas Graham.[17]
  • January 2005: attack on 19 year old John Beck which left him brain damaged.[18]
  • August 2005: Senior investigating officer in murder of Stephen Paul, suspected of being killed as part of a UVF - LVF feud.[19]
  • March 2006: leads raid on a Belfast bar to prevent a 'show of strength' by the Ulster Freedom Fighters / Ulster Defence Association, leading to the arrest of 17 men.[20] The focus of the large scale arrest was said to be senior UDA leader Ihab Shoukri who had been under surveillance prior to the raid; other senior loyalists were also arrested.[21]
  • April 2007: working with Legal Services Commission to target those wrongfully claiming legal aid.[22]
  • February 2008: becomes head of the PSNI's Economic Crime Bureau.[23] In particularly, he leads a plan for 60 officers to target the lifestyles of those involved in organised crime.[24]
  • December 2007 - June 2009: Detective Chief Superintendent, PSNI. Responsible for:[1]
  • the 'corporate management of PSNI response to four separate Public Inquiries into victims of murder. These were those of Supt. Bob Buchanan & Ch. Supt. Harry Breen (1989), Robert Hamill (1997), Billy Wright (1997), Rosemary Nelson (1999);
  • the 'corporate management of PSNI response to multiple Inquests into 'legacy' deaths', and the review & re-investigation of unsolved murders over the period 1964-2004.
  • July 2012: Smithwick Tribunal
This 2012 inquiry looked at allegations of collusion between the Garda and the Provisional IRA, in particular relating to the 1989 killings of RUC officers Buchanan and Breen. In particular, it was alleged that then serving gardai had provided information leading to the deaths following the RUC officers' meeting with Irish counterparts. At the May 2012 hearings, McComb read out a PSNI statement that stated a number of Irish gardai and customs officials had been passing information to republicans. McComb said this was based in part on confidential intelligence documents, one of which had only been received in the previous year, but refused to disclose the source of the material. This was denounced by the Provisional IRA as deliberately false information. [25][26][27]
McComb would appear before the Tribunal for oral questioning in July 2012, where his testimony included surprise new allegations there was a fourth gardai officer informing for the IRA also involved, and it was this individual who was responsible for passing on the information leading to the killing of the two police officers, not the three gardai already in the public eye. He however, did not elaborate on the source of the intelligence or decisions around it being released, leading to claims that the PSNI were keeping 'crucial intelligence' from the Tribunal. The revelations were as source of consdierable consternation to many parties involved.[28][29][30] Later that year, McComb's then superior, ACC Drew Harris would also be involved in providing intelligence material on IRA-Garda collusion.[31]
  • 2008-August 2014: Strategic Firearms Commander, PSNI, responsible for 'Strategic Command of spontaneous or pre-planned firearms operations.'[1]
  • Represented the PSNI on the National Police Committees (ACPO) for Drugs and Firearms.
  • June 2009-August 2014: Head of Organised Crime Branch, PSNI, where he reported directly to Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris. The Chief Constable from September 2009 is Matt Baggott (who succeeded Hugh Orde. Duties included[1][32]
  • Member of the Stakeholder, Strategy and Legal groups for the multi-agency Organised Crime Task Force on behalf of the PSNI.
  • Represented the PSNI on the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) business area committees for Organised Crime, Crime Business Area & Economic Crime.
  • Represented PSNI on National Crime Agency sub-groups for 'National Tactical Tasking and Coordination' and 'National Strategic Tasking and Coordination', 'International Serious Organised Crime', 'Regional Organised Crime Unit Coordination' and 'Prisons and Lifetime Management of Organised Criminals'.
Investigations headed and activities included:
  • The financial affairs of MP Iris Robinson[33] (wife of First Minister Peter Robinson) and in particular under investigation for fraud over whether her lover had been wrongly secured funding for his restaurant.[34] The investigation into the high-profile scandal lasted from January 2010 until a file was submitted to the Public Prosecution Service in January 2011.[35]
  • Conviction of couple Thomas Carroll and Shamiela Clark for running a trafficking and prostitution ring.[36] McComb would speak out on the trafficking on a number of occasions, and oversee raids on a brothels in June 2010 which saw a number of women trafficked for sex rescued.[37]
  • He speaks out on issues around counterfeit goods at a number of events.
  • Under the aegis of his unit, McComb would oversee a number of large drugs seizures and subsequent arrests over 2010-2013.[38][39][40][41][42]
  • March 2011 he issues a warning over the rise in criminal gangs in Northern Ireland.[43] In June 2011 he notes that his officers are deliberately targeting gangsters with a view to turning them into supergrasses.[44]
  • Strenghtening Cross-border collaboration on organised criminal gangs.[45]
  • In 2011 worked with the NCA and the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit to capture a gang of burglars travelling from Merseyside to Northern Ireland.[46]
In July 2013, following comments from politicians, McComb came out to state publicly that the PSNI's powerful Intelligence Branch (known as C3 internally, and the successor to the RUC Special Branch) did not have a 'veto' over operations carried out by other departments including those of his Organised Crime branch targeting gangs.[47] He would also subsequently argue that money being made by organised crime activities in Northern Ireland such as diesel smuggling was being used to fund paramilitary groups.[48]
  • 2009-2013: Head of Security for the World Police and Fire Games 2013, which were held in Northern Ireland in August 2013.[1]
  • September 2014 - present (April 2016): Deputy Director for Specialist Investigations, National Crime Agency.[1]

National Crime Agency

McComb became one of the Deputy Directors for the National Crime Agency in September 2014.[1] He is various described as head of Specialist Operations or of Organised Crime Command. In this role he oversaw a number of large scale operations and projects.

Silk Road' (November 2014) Oversees the UK police side ('Project Protein') of the Europol coordinated 'Operation Onymous' targeting Silk Road 2.0 the online market-place for illegal goods, part of the so-called 'Dark Web'.[49][50]

Anti-doping in sport (December 2014) Signs memorandum of understanding on behalf of the NCA with the UK Anti Doping agency to share information around substance misuse and trafficking in sport.[51]

Operation Stovewood (2014 - ) Started in December 2014, Stovewood was the NCA's investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, commenced at the request of South Yorkshire Police, following the child sexual abuse scandal there. The investigation was conducted by Steve Baldwin, though McComb had overall command for it.[52]

Stephen Lawrence murder corruption investigation (2015 - ) From March 2015 McComb is appointed to lead the investigation into persistent allegations of corruption relating to the original 1993 murder investigation.[53] This appointment followed the finding that there appeared to be substance to the allegations following the Stephen Lawrence Independent Review conducted by Mark Ellison, and in particular that relevant material from Operation Othona had not been released to the original inquiry under Sir William Macpherson. McCombs was appointed by the Metropolitan Police and the investigation is to be conducted under the authority and supervision of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.[54][55][56]

Education, awards and affiliations

Certifications & Courses:[1]

  • Senior Investigating Officer (Kidnap & Extortion), UK Police Servce, 2004.
  • PIP 3 Senior Investigating Officer, UK Police Servce, 2006.
  • Senior Debrief Officer (Assisting Offenders), UK Police Service, 2006
  • Strategic Firearms Commandner, UK Police Servce, 2008.
  • Senior Identification Manager, National Police Improvement Agency, June 2008
  • PIP 4 Senior Investigating Officer, National Police Improvement Agency, April 2012
  • Leadership in Counter Terrorism (LinCT), National Crime Agency
  • MSc., Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, 2011.[57]


  • RUC Service Medal, January 1986.
  • Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, February 2002.
  • Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, August 2006.
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, February 2012.


  • International Association of Chiefs of Police since June 2009.
  • International Homicide Investigators Association since June 2004.

A referee with the Ulster branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union, 2001-2012.[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Roy McComb, Profile,, accessed 29 April 2016).
  2. Ciaran McGuigan, 'Brothel raid: two quizzed', Belfast Telegraph, 12 August 2000 (accessed via Nexis).
  3. RUC: Massage dens will be shut down', Sunday Life, 17 June 2001 (accessed via Nexis).
  4. Claire Regan, Man is charged with murder of teen, Belfast Telegraph, 24 July 2001 (accessed via Nexis).
  5. Marie Foy, Dead baby: fresh appeal, Belfast Telegraph, 12 April 2002 (accessed via Nexis).
  6. Claire Regan & David Gordon, Death probe: police plea; Man may have been assaulted, Belfast Telegraph, 15 July 2002 (accessed via Nexis).
  7. Ashleigh Wallace & Ben Lowry, Murder cops hunt 'boxer'; Alert over killer who struck at party, Belfast Telegraph, 20 January 2003 (accessed via Nexis).
  8. Gemma Murray, Murder victim 'in UDA at a low level'; police still seeking Billy the Boxer, Belfast News Letter, 21 January 2003 (accessed via Nexis).
  9. Paul Dykes, Gault is found guilty of killing her husband, Belfast Telegraph, 20 March 2003 (accessed via Nexis).
  10. Cleared of killing husband, Belfast News Letter, 9 October 2004 (accessed via Nexis).
  11. Gemma Murray & Stephen Dempster, Paramilitary boss killed in revenge shooting, Belfast News Letter, 10 May 2003 (accessed via Nexis).
  12. Court Battle: murder trial Loyalists riot, The Mirror, 4 June 2005 (accesed via Nexis).
  13. Martin Breen, IRA's link to global $1.7m web rip-offs, The News of the World, 5 October 2003 (accessed via Nexis).
  14. Gunman's lifestyle also killed his sister, Belfast News Letter, 4 June 2004 (accessed via Nexis).
  15. Michael McHugh, Special Branch agent involved in assassination, inquest told, Press Association, 18 August 2008 (accessed via Nexis).
  16. Brian Archer, 'No evidence' to link murder with three alleged informers, The Irish News, 19 October 2011 (accessed via Nexis).
  17. Martin Breen, Psycho killer is locked up, News of the World, 19 August 2007 (accessed via Nexis).
  18. Brian Hutton, Thugs 'ruined my boys life'; Mum's plea to find men who beat teenager, Belfast Telegraph, 10 February 2005 (accessed via Nexis).
  19. Same killer suspected of two murders, Belfast News Letter, 5 August 2005 (accessed via Nexis).
  20. Debra Douglas, How legal show of strength by police stopped illegal one, Belfast Telegraph, 4 March 2006 (accessed via Nexis).
  21. Barry McCaffrey, Assault on 'show of strength' to arrest Ihab Shoukri and leaders, Irish News, 4 March 2006 (accessed via Nexis).
  22. Andrew Gregory, Hunt on to catch legal aid cheaters, Daily Mirror (Ulster edition), 25 April 2007 (accessed via Nexis).
  23. PSNI plan bad news for flash criminals, Irish News, 18 June 2007 (accessed via Nexis).
  24. 60 Specialists will target finance crime, Daily Mirror (Ulster edition), 18 July 2007 (accessed via Nexis).
  25. Sarah Stack, Inquiry being fed lies, say Provos, Press Association, 1 May 2012 (accessed via Nexis).
  26. Provos claim Smithwick inquiry being fed lies, Irish News, 1 May 2012 (accessed via Nexis).
  27. Sarah Stack, Provos want quick end to Tribunal, The Mirror (Ulster edition), 2 May 2012 (accessed via Nexis).
  28. PSNI kept crucial intelligence from Smithwick, RTE News, 25 July 2012 (accessed via Nexis).
  29. Alan Murray, PSNI witness opens can of worms for collusion probe, Belfast Telegraph, 27 July 2012 (accessed via Nexis).
  30. Maurice Fitzmaurice, Justice plea for murdered RUC, Daily Mirror, 28 July 2012 (accessed via Nexis).
  31. Alan Murray, Yet another knot to be untangled, Belfast Telegraph, 19 October 2012 (accessed via Nexis).
  32. Northern Ireland Affairs Committee - Minutes of Evidence, Parliament.UK, 7 December 2011 (accessed 29 April 2016).
  33. Police quiz Iris Robinson on financial affairs, Irish News, 24 June 2010 (accessed via Nexis).
  34. Iris Robinson under investigation, Irish News, 21 January 2010 (accessed via Nexis).
  35. Scandal file sent to PPS as police finish inquiries, Belfast Telegraph, 14 January 2011 (accessed via Nexis).
  36. Laura Harding, Couple jailed for multimillion prostitution ring, Press Association, 4 February 2010 (accessed via Nexis).
  37. Deborah McAleese, PSNI rescues 15 sex workers after blitz on brothels, Belfast Telegraph, 4 September 2010 (accessed via Nexis).
  38. David Young, Seven arrested as £500,000 of drug seized, Press Association, 15 October 2010 (accessed via Nexis).
  39. Two held in £1m cannabis bust, Belfast Telegraph, 22 October 2010 (accessed via Nexis).
  40. Three held after £1m drugs seizure, Press Association, 11 December 2010 (accessed via Nexis).
  41. Michael McHugh, Large haul of Class B drugs seized, Press Association, 1 April 2011.
  42. Dope haul brings total net to £14m, Daily Mirror 25 January 2013 (accessed via Nexis).
  43. Michael McHugh, Warning over number of crime gangs, Press Association, 23 March 2011.
  44. Deborah McAleese, Supergrasses to be used to bring down networks, 27 June 2011 (accessed via Nexis).
  45. Garda Special: Policing across the line, The Sunday Business Post, 3 February 2013 (accessed via Nexis).
  46. Police put Liverpool crime group behind bars, UK Government News, 17 January 2014 (accessed via Nexis).
  47. Connla Young, Intelligence Branch 'cannot veto anti-gang operations', The Irish News, 6 July 2013 (accessed via Nexis).
  48. John Mooney, Fuelling Crime: Cross-border diesel laundering is worth more than the drugs trade, The Sunday Times (Ireland edition), 12 January 2014.
  49. Rene Millman, National Crime Agency's Dark Net raid ends with six arrests, IT Pro, 10 November 2014 (accessed 29 April 2016).
  50. David Neal, NCA shuts 400 dark net sites in 'Project Protein' strike,, 7 November 2014 (accessed 29 April 2016).
  51. UK Anti-Doping, UKAD Signs Agreement with National Crime Agency to Share Information, (press release), 18 December 2014 (accessed 29 April 2016).
  52. Operation Stovewood set to become largest investigation of its kind, Rotheram: Moving Forward Together (newsletter of Voluntary Action Rotheram), Issue 3, December 2015 (accessed 29 April 2016).
  53. Ex-PSNI detective to lead probe into police corruption over Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry, Belfast Telegraph, 15 October 2015 (accessed 29 April 2016).
  54. Mark Ellison, Stephen Lawrence Independent Review Volume One, House of Commons, 6 March 2016 (accessed 29 April 2016).
  55. Jamie Bullen, Stephen Lawrence murder: Met faces new corruption investigation, Evening Standard, 16 October 2015 (accessed 29 April 2016).
  56. Tom McTague, Britain's FBI launch investigation into claims corrupt police protected Stephen Lawrence's racist murderers, Mail Online, 16 October 2015 (accessed 29 April 2016).
  57. Master of Studies, The Wolfson Review, Issue 35, 2010-2011 (accessed 29 April 2016).