Objects > RUC tunic and bandolier


RUC tunic and bandolier

Date: 1922

Material: leather

Dimensions: ?

Organisation: Royal Ulster Constabulary

Source: Police Museum

Photograph of RUC men training with rifles

Date: 1940s

Material: paper

Dimensions: 20 x 25

Organisation: Royal Ulster Constabulary

Source: Police Museum

Ex-military Webley Mark VI 1917

Date: 1917

Material: metal & wood

Dimensions: 30x15

Organisation: Royal Ulster Constabulary, British Army

Source: Police Museum

A Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) constable’s tunic and bandolier. Under the terms of the Government of Ireland Act 1920, Ireland was partitioned and responsibility for law and order transferred from Britain to the new governments in Belfast and Dublin. In 1922, this led to the disbandment of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the establishment of two separate police services, the Civic Guard in the south, and the RUC in the north.

The RUC adopted a similar structure to the RIC and changeover was relatively straightforward. The RUC retained the RIC crest and rifle-green uniform, replacing “Irish” with “Ulster” in buttons and badges. In Northern Ireland, all RIC barracks, vehicles, weapons, equipment and rules and regulations automatically transferred over to the RUC. In contrast with other regular police forces in the UK, the RUC was armed and under the direct political control of the minister of home affairs. A surplus of British army Webley Mark VI revolvers became available at the end of World War I and were given to the RIC during the War of Independence. Variants of the Webley revolver were retained by the RUC until the 1970s. The RUC carried rifles during ceremonies, training and riot detail. On these occasions, leather bandoliers containing rifle ammunition were worn.

By 1924, the RUC had nearly reached its 3,000 target, 1,330 men were recruited from the RIC and 1,435 came from the Ulster Special Constabulary (USC). In 1925, the USC was reviewed, and the A Specials and C1 Specials were abolished, while the B Specials were retained to act as a permanent reserve force for the RUC.