Following the partition of Ireland, it was decided to disband the RIC as an All-Ireland police force. In southern Ireland a new police force, the Civic Guard later Garda Siochana was formed, while in Northern Ireland the Royal Ulster Constabulary was established on 1 June 1922 as the police force for Northern Ireland. The RUC carried much over from the former force with a strong nucleus of former RIC men (over 50% of the new force’s 3,000 strength comprised ex-RIC men), the same rank structure, uniform and terms and conditions of service. From 1922 to 1970 control of the RUC was vested in the Minister of Home Affairs, de facto a Unionist politician, a situation which was to create serious difficulties in the perceived impartiality of the RUC in later years.
Due to the continued problem of political agitation and violence, the RUC had the dual role of combating normal crime and armed subversion from the IRA. It was assisted in the latter role by the Ulster Special Constabulary, which acted as a part-time auxiliary police. Due to its dual role the RUC, like the RIC, continued to be an armed force.
A female’s section was established in 1943 to carry out a limited range of duties, mainly concerned with women and children. The role of female officers expanded after the 1970’s and full equality was achieved in 1994 with the right to carry firearms.
Image | RUC Female Recruits c. 1943