Chairman: Lord MacLean

Report of The Billy Wright Inquiry

Chapter 5

Structure and Background of the Main Organisations

The Royal Ulster Constabulary

Special Branch Participation in High-level Meetings


Senior SB officers attended a number of coordinating meetings. Four of those are referred to below.

(a) The Security Policy Meeting (SPM)

This was the most important meeting, attended by the SOSNI, the Chief Constable, the General Officer Commanding, the DCI and the PS. A brief from this meeting was prepared for the Chief Constable by the Detective Chief Inspector in charge of E3A, the Head of the E3 Desks, and would have covered the work of all the Desks. This was the means by which SB had input at the highest possible level in terms of the governance of Northern Ireland.

(b) The Province Executive Committee (PEC)

The HSB, or in his absence the DHSB, would attend these meetings for which a synopsis of intelligence would have been prepared for the HSB/DHSB. The DCI presented the political perspective on behalf of his customers in Whitehall and in Stormont. This provided both the RUC Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Operations and the Commander Land Forces with a better understanding of the political imperatives which were driving government policy at the time. The minutes of this meeting were classified ‘secret’ and were kept either in SB HQ or in the Chief Constable’s Office.

(c) The Intelligence Review Committee

This meeting took place weekly, chaired by the DCI. It would be attended by the Head of the AsGp (HAG) and one or two of his subordinates, the Assistant Chief of Staff G2/G3 representing the Army, and the HSB or the Head of E3/IMG. This meeting dealt with strategic intelligence requirements and priorities, reviewing priorities on a monthly basis. The objective of the IRC was to ensure that middle-ranking officers in all three of the organisations concerned (the RUC, the Security Service and the Army) understood the impact of strategic intelligence requirements, and were working in a harmonious and coordinated way.

(d) Meetings with Chief Constable and Regional Assistant Chief Constables

The HSB had formal morning meetings with the Chief Constable, having spoken previously with his Deputy before the meeting. He also had morning meetings with the Regional Assistant Chief Constables, the Deputy Chief Constable (DCC), a representative from C Branch and Head of Operations Branch.