The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Remember the B Specials?

Controversial political commentator and Revolutionary Unionist Dr John Coulter maintains nationalist areas of the North need their own version of the B Specials to keep order on policing.


Dr John Coulter • 5 February 2007

Remember the B Specials? Its time to introduce the R Specials into republican districts now the Shinners have embraced policing.

The creation of R Specials, that's R for Republican, would greatly boost the civil role of the PSNI in combating anti-social behaviour, the yob culture, drug dealing and general lawlessness in overwhelmingly nationalist areas of the North.

Republicans have been uttering fine rhetoric since Sinn Fein's recent Super Sunday 80 per cent endorsement of the PSNI , followed up by top Shinners urging Catholics to shop to cops supposedly ordinary decent criminals.

But what Catholic areas need on the ground are Republicans in police uniforms, complete with patrolling Land Rovers and, of course, legal guns.

Mention the B Specials to Republicans, and it brings back nightmares of the almost exclusively Protestant part-time militia knocking seven bells out of Catholics.

But what was the real power of the B Specials? It wasn't their thuggish tactics which put them – in Republican eyes – on a mantel with the notorious Black and Tans of the War of Independence.

Older republicans would claim there was nothing between the boot boy policies of the B Men and the portrayals of Tan brutality dished out to Southern nationalists in blockbuster films, such as Michael Collins, and The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

The secret of the B Men's success was their indepth intelligence gathering on people living in their areas, and geographical knowledge of their localities.

The B Men were locally recruited, locally trained and armed and patrolled their neighbourhoods. If thugs committed crimes on their patch, the B Men knew who to look for and where to find them.

Just look at the lessons from history. How did the Free State Army defeat the anti-Treaty IRA during the Irish Civil War? Simple, the Free Staters controlled their own localities armed with British guns.

When the IRA attacked, they knew where to find de Valera's renegades. Was it any wonder more IRA members were executed by the Free Staters than killed by the Tans?

The R Specials would be a locally recruited Catholic militia, armed and trained by the PSNI and the British Army, whose primary aim was to enforce law and order in nationalist communities.

The axing of the daft 50/50 recruitment rule may not necessarily see a massive influx of Catholics into the PSNI – but the creation of a local Catholic militia would.

Eventually, the R Specials could be used to stamp out any physical threat posed by dissident republicans, such as the Real and Continuity IRAs, just as the Free State Army gradually seized control right across the South from the IRA, forcing the latter to call a truce.

Of course, the flip side of the security coin would also have to be administered – the return of the B Specials as part of the PSNI to keep order in loyalist districts.

While the recent Independent Monitoring Commission report gave the Provos a clean bill of health, the same could not be said for the loyalist terror gangs, who have made little effort if any, to disarm, let alone disband.

With loyalist groups heavily involved in criminality, a revamped B Specials could take the loyalist hoods head on in their own streets and estates.

And with the large influx of migrant workers and expansion in the ethnic communities, the R and B Specials would be in the frontline of crushing the spiralling increase in racially motivated crime.

The key to beating local crime is always the gathering of local intelligence by police units based in their districts.

With the increase in other races in the North, the time may also be approaching to form a dedicated M Specials force – the Migrant Specials – to root out religious extremists and insurgents hell bent on bringing their suicide bombing beliefs to this island.

But the hard medicine which all sides in the religious conflict must face is the ethos of the Specials will not become a policing reality until legislative control is fully devolved to a power-sharing Executive.

Now there would be a carrot the Big Man, Ian Paisley, could sell to his Unionist dissidents in the DUP – the man who not only saved Stormont and the Union, but also brought back the B Men!
























Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
- Frank Zappa

Index: Current Articles

13 February 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Compromise, Compromise, Compromise
Helen McClafferty

Martin Galvin

The Heart of Collusion
John Kennedy

Bad Tactics
Anthony McIntyre

The Clothes Make the Man
Mick Hall

Follow the Leader
John Kennedy

Dry Your Eyes
John Kennedy

The Foreman
Anthony McIntyre

Mc Cain and Northern Ireland
Fr. Sean Mc Manus

Rumours of Retirement
Dr John Coulter

Liam O Ruairc

If MI5 rules, What was the 30-year war all about?
John Kelly

PRUC Service
Brian Mór

Nationalists Divided Over Sinn Fein Support for British Policing
Paul Mallon

Remember the B Specials?
Dr John Coulter

The Boyne Harriers
Brian Mór

Coming Full Circle
Seaghán Ó Murchú

The Need for an Anti-Imperialist United Front
Philip Ferguson

28 January 2007

Done & Dusted
Anthony McIntyre

Once Again, The Big Transition
Dolours Price

Plastic Bullet
John Kennedy

Provos Embrace Total Collaboration with British Rule
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

British Policing is Not an Alternative
Francis Mackey

$F Hats
Brian Mór

Policing Problems
Tommy McKearney

SF Seeks to Curtail NI Policing
David Adams

Digging Up the Truth
John Kennedy

State Terrorism Par Excellence
Anthony McIntyre

Collusion: Dirty War Crime
Mick Hall

Repeating the Pattern of the Top Brass
Eamonn McCann

Collusion revelations: disturbing but not shocking
Brendan O'Neill

England's Legacy to Ireland: State Sponsored Terrorism
Richard Wallace

Application for Service in HMPRUC
Brian Mór

The Revolution is the People
Michéal MháDonnáin

Rates and PFI Payments
Ray McAreavey

Reviews of 'Century'
Roy Johnston

A Peacemaker at the Start and the Finish
David Adams



The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices