Transfer of Policing

The (Dublin) Evening Telegraph, 26 November 1921

Richard Dawson Bates, the Northern Ireland Minister for Home Affairs, had been advocating for policing powers to be transferred to the Northern Ireland government for some time. Policing powers were eventually transferred on 22 November, and the RIC in Northern Ireland were placed under the direct control of Bates’ ministry. However, the reception to this transfer was hostile among the nationalist community, with many expressing concerns that the RIC in Northern Ireland would be used to suppress Irish nationalists in the province. This article from the Dublin Evening Telegraph the weekend after the powers was transferred hints at a deep-seated nationalist suspicion towards the transfer, seen most obviously in the article title “R.I.C. IN CARSONIA”.

The reference towards the end of the article to “the notorious circular” refers to a note obtained by the Irish Bulletin, which detailed how the Northern Ireland government would have the power to recruit a local auxiliary service in emergency circumstances. 


At the Disposal of the Orange Cabinet


At a meeting of the district delegates of the R.I.C. for the City of Belfast, held in Mulgrave street Barracks, a leaflet from Dublin Castle in reference to transfers under the Partition Act was discussed. It was decided that no action be taken until the question is considered by the Representative Body, which meets in Dublin on November 30.

The leaflet referred to discloses the fact that the R.I.C. stationed in the six counties were to be at the disposal of “the Northern Government” as from Tuesday last, and that the directions of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Northern Government for the maintenance of law and order and the suppression of crime were to be carried out by the R.I.C. 

Members of the R.I.C. are invited to indicate their views in regard to transfer, but, the circular says, that before the transfer can be effected, “it is essential that such redistribution of personnel should have been carried out as will secure that the regular police stationed in the Six Counties shall include the largest possible proportion of officers and men who are both willing and suitable to be transferred to the service of the Northern Government.”

Matters relating to the internal administration of the permanent force in the Six Counties will continue for the present under the control of the Deputy Inspector-General and the Chief of Police, and will be dealt with by them through the Divisional Commission, Belfast.

The Divisional Commissioner, Belfast, is Lt.-Col Wickham, who signed the notorious circular about the organisation of a secret army, which has created such a sensation in England.