The principal responsibity of the Special Branch is and always was, National Security. During the ‘Cold War’(1950 –1980) 3 members of the S.B.were engaged full time in compiling information about Communists and other far left political parties, the membership and intentions.Similarly others were engaged in compiling the same regarding right wing organisations including the I.R.A. All information was regularly transmitted to the Secret Service (M.I.5 and 6)
These were the years when strikes were the order of the day. All strike meetings were held on open sites and all were attended by S.B.officers (In suitable garb)who always put their hand up when the ballot occurred. A full report of the meeting and the Union’s intentions were sent by train, each evening to the Security Service.
Additional duties included carrying out investigations for the Home Office regarding undesirable aliens, deportations and bogus marriages, usually among Chinese and Lascar seamen. All applications for naturalisation requires a full report on the applicant, his background and financial position.
Major Fraud enquiries were sent to the S.B. by government departments but later on, as I.R.A. activities worsened, it became necessary to create a separate Fraud Squad.
The S.B. was always extremely involved in any Royal Visit providing close observance and protection.
So much has changed in the past 30 years that it is unlikely that any of the above duties are carried out by a provincial Special Branch now. Formerly the Home Office would send an enquiry regarding one alien who, from their records, had failed to leave the country at the end of their visit. Similarly, investigations into terrorist activity has reached epidemic proportions requiring new organisations.
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