The Police Service of Northern Ireland should cease all investigations into terrorist murders committed before the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 according to the force’s outgoing chief constable Matt Baggott.

Speaking to the media on his final day in office, Baggott told the BBC that a new way must be found to deal with historic cases related to the Troubles in the North.

Baggott told the BBC: “There is a need to separate the past from the present.

“I think how ever that is done, the PSNI should no longer be accountable for dealing with issues that pre-date the Good Friday Agreement.

“We have to create a situation where police resources are focused on the here and now, without taking away from the needs of justice or victims.

“But that can be done in a different place, under a different authority.”

His comments were made in light of remarks from Northern Ireland attorney general John Larkin QC.

Larkin said last December that there should be no further police investigations, inquests or inquiries into any killings pre-dating the 1998 Good Friday Agreement according to the BBC report.

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson claimed Larkin’s proposal was ‘effectively an amnesty’ and that those who were victims of the Troubles had a right to expect prosecutions.

More than 3,500 people were killed during three decades of conflict in Northern Ireland.

A police officer for 37 years, Englishman Baggott took up the job as head of the PSNI in August 2009.

He oversaw the G8 summit last year and was praised by US President Barack Obama for his handling of the security operation.

He has also been criticized however by unionists and nationalists over how police dealt with flag protests and parades.

Baggott added: “Being the chief constable in Northern Ireland has been a massive, massive privilege.

“It is absolutely the friendliest place that I’ve ever had the privilege to work and throughout the last five years, which hasn’t been without its challenges, we have been buoyed and encouraged all the way along that by some fantastic people.

“It is with a heavy heart that we’re going.

”Northern Ireland’s new chief constable will be the current assistant chief constable, George Hamilton from Bangor, County Down.