loading

SOURCE: CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) http://cain.ulst.ac.uk

Text and Research: Fionnuala McKenna

Background Information on Northern Irish Society

Security

This draft section provides some brief background information on the security situation in Northern Ireland. This section only covers information about crime or violence in relation to the conflict.

=                     The police force in Northern Ireland, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), was established in 1922. Up until March 1970 the size of the RUC never exceeded 3,500 members, but this was reassessed in the light of the “Troubles”, and membership of the RUC now stands at 8,489. Its total expenditure for the 1994 – 1995 financial year was £601.1 million.

=                     The RUC has always been composed mainly from members of the Protestant community. In 1992, only 7.78 per cent of the full time force were Catholic, and an even small percentage than this could be found in the reserve forces. The Government is currently considering major reform of the police force throughout the United Kingdom (UK), and this religious imbalance in the composition of the RUC is one of the problems which will be addressed. In May 1996, the Government published a White containing specific proposals for reform of policing structures, aimed at making the force more fair, impartial and accountable.

=                     The Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) came into existence in Northern Ireland in April 1970, as a direct consequence of the proposals of the Hunt Report. In effect, the force was a replacement for the all-Protestant Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) or “B Specials”, and their role was to provide support for the regular police force. Initially, the UDR had up to 18 per cent Catholic membership, but by 1991, this figure had fallen dramatically to only 3 per cent.

=                     The Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) was formed on 1 July 1992 as a result of the merger of the Royal Irish Rangers and the Ulster Defence Regiment. The new regiment is made up of one General Service battalion, liable to serve worldwide, and six Home Service battalions which only serve Northern Ireland. The total strength of the home-based battalions remains broadly the same as the former strength of the UDR and continues to include both part-time and full-time soldiers. It currently employs 5,500 individuals, with 3,000 being full-time and 2,500 part-time soldiers.

=                     In 1969 the British Army was deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland. It was welcomed at first by the Catholic community, but this attitude was short-lived. The number of British soldiers present in Northern Ireland fluctuates, in response to the security situation. The figures peaked in 1972, when it reached over 30,000. By 1994, this figure stood at 18,500. Subsequent to the IRA ceasefire of 1994, this figure was reduced to 17,000.

Sources:

The following tables provide some further details of the security situation in Northern Ireland. The information has been obtained from the Police Constable’s Annual Report. The Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics, the Irish Almanac and Yearbook of Facts, (1997), and “A Partnership for Change”, A Report on Further Consultation by the Police Authority for Northern Ireland.

Strength of the police force, and the UDR/RIR

The ranks of the Royal Ulster Constabulary

Security Incidents in Northern Ireland, 1969-1994

Number of people charges with terrorist and serious public order offences, from 1972-1995

Result of Paramilitary (“Punishment”) Shootings and Assaults

Public Attitudes to Policing. Results of a survey taken September 1996

Public Attitudes on the performance of Local Police: 1994 and 1996

The following other pages of interest on the CAIN server:

A breakdown of deaths caused by terrorist incidents, in terms of status

A chronological list of major violent incidents in Northern Ireland, from

1971–1994

A list of significant violent incidents during the “Troubles”

____________________________________________________________________

Strength of Police Force and UDR/RIR

 

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

RUC

8259

8234

8236

8231

8259

8231

8217

8478

8464

8493

RUC Reserve

1753

1660

1659

1656

1605

1554

1518

1433

1388

1491

RUC Reserve

2755

1754

2991

2993

3018

2990

3042

3160

3184

3199

UDR/RIR

3739

3736

3746

3535

3283

3088

2999

2620

2510

2285

UDR/RIR

2755

2672

2785

2858

2947

2955

3277

2797

2902

2956

Source: Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics, 1996

Ranks of the Royal Ulster Constabulary: 1995

Assistant Chief Constable

9

Chief Superintendent

42

Chief Inspector

167

Inspector

491

Sergeant

1,414

Constable

6,243

TOTAL:

8,489

   

RUC Reserve (Full-Time)

3,202

RUC Reserve (Part-Time)

1,765

Source: Irish Almanac and Yearbook, 1997


Security Incidents in Northern Ireland, 1969-1994


Year


Shooting Incidents


Bombs/
Explosions


Devices Neutralised


Firearms Found


Explosives Found (Kg)

Armed Robberies (Including attempts)


Amount Stolen

1969

73

9

1

14

102

-

-

1970

213

153

17

324

305

-

-

1971

1,756

1,022

493

716

1,246

489

304,000

1972

10,631

1,382

471

1,259

18,819

1,931

795,000

1973

5,019

978

542

1,313

17,426

1,317

612,000

1974

3,208

685

428

1,236

11,848

1,353

576,000

1975

1,803

399

236

820

4,996

1,325

572,000

1976

1,908

766

426

736

9,849

889

545,000

1977

1,081

366

169

563

1,728

676

447,000

1978

755

455

178

393

956

493

223,000

1979

728

422

142

300

905

504

568,000

1980

642

280

120

203

821

467

497,000

1981

1,142

398

131

357

3,419

689

855,000

1982

547

219

113

288

2,298

693

1,392,000

1983

424

266

101

166

1,706

718

830,000

1984

334

193

55

187

3,871

710

702,000

1985

238

148

67

173

3,344

542

656,000

1986

392

172

82

174

2,443

839

1,207,000

1987

674

236

148

206

5,885

955

1,900,000

1988

538

253

205

489

4,728

742

1,389,000

1989

566

224

196

246

1,377

604

1,079,000

1990

557

166

120

179

1,969

492

1,729,000

1991

499

231

137

164

4,167

607

1,673,000

1992

506

222

149

194

2,197

739

1,666,000

1993

476

206

83

196

3,944

643

1,515,000

1994

348

123

99

178

1,285

555

1,709,000

Total:

35,058

9,974

4,909

11,074

111,604

18,972

23,451,000

Source: Irish Almanac and Yearbook, 1997


Number of people charged with terrorist and serious public order offences:

Year

No. of persons charged

1972*

531

1973

1,418

1974

1,374

1975

1,197

1976

1,276

1977

1,308

1978

843

1979

670

1980

550

1981

918

1982

686

1983

613

1984

528

1985

522

1986

655

1987

471

1988

440

1989

433

1990

383

1991

404

1992

418

1993

372

1994

349

1995

440

Total

16,799

*(from 31.07.72)

 

Source: Chief Constable’s Annual Report, 1996


Casualties as a Result of Paramilitary (“Punishment”) Shootings [1] and Assaults [2] 1987-1996


Year


Shootings


Assaults

Total Casualties

 


Total

By Loyalist Groups

By Republican Groups


Total

By Loyalist Groups

By Republican Groups

 

1987

124

67

57

60

27

33

184

1988

66

34

32

56

21

35

122

1989

161

65

96

51

23

28

212

1990

106

60

46

68

21

47

174

1991

76

40

36

62

22

40

138

1992

133

72

61

74

36

38

207

1993

85

60

25

41

35

6

126

1994

122

68

54

70

38

32

192

1995

3

3

-

217

76

141

220

1996

24

21

3

302

130

172

326

Totals:

900

490

410

1,001

429

572

1,901

(Source: Chief Constable’s Annual report, 1996, p87)

Notes:

[1] “Shootings” refers to paramilitary “punishment” attacks involving guns

[2] “Assaults” refers to paramilitary “punishment” attacks which did not involve guns

Public Attitudes to Policing: Results of a survey taken September 1996

(i)                 Confidence in the Police:

 

Catholics

Protestants

Confidence re. General Policing Issues

60%

90%

Confidence re. Parades and Marches Issue

34%

73%

Source: “A Partnership for Change”. A Report on Further consultation by the Police Authority for Northern Ireland

(ii)        Performance of Local Police:

 

1994/1995

Sept. 1996

 

Total
%

Protestant %

Catholic %

Total
%

Protestant %

Catholic %

Very/fairly good

74

79

67

68

77

55

Neither good or bad

11

10

14

13

10

17

Very/fairly poor

9

7

13

17

12

25

Don’t Know/Refusal

5

4

6

2

1

3

Source: “A Partnership for Change”: A report on Further consultation by the Police Authority for Northern Ireland

© 2017 Northern Ireland Screen. All Rights Reserved