Formed as an auxiliary armed police force by the new Northern Irish government, the Ulster Specials in 1922 consisted of ‘A’ full‐time, ‘B’ part‐time, ‘C’ reserve with 5,500, 19,000, and 7,500 members respectively. Dominated by old Ulster Volunteer Force and Orange order members and seen as a ruthless sectarian force by the catholic minority, it was reluctantly paid for by the British Treasury. After the early turbulent years of province, the ‘A’s and ‘C’s were disbanded. The ‘B’ Specials were criticized for their biased policing of civil rights marches in the late 1960s. The Hunt Report (October 1969) recommended their replacement by a new part‐time security force, soon known as the Ulster Defence Regiment. The new, avowedly non‐sectarian, force also failed to recruit many catholics and became almost as controversial as the ‘B’ Specials.
Subjects: British History — European History.