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Text and Research: Brendan Lynn ... Edited and Compiled: Martin Melaugh
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| Young |

Young, Arthur (Sir) (b. 1907)
Police Officer; Inspector-General of the RUC November 1969 - November 1970

Arthur Young was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School and later joined Portsmouth City Police as a cadet clerk at the age of seventeen. His career in the police service was to see him gradually rise through the ranks and in 1946, he was appointed Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, the youngest person to hold the post in the history of this force. Then three years later in 1949, Young was made Chief Constable of the City of London. Throughout the early 1950s his skills saw him sent on secondment to British colonies such as the Gold Coast (1951-52), Malaya (1952-53) and, Kenya (1954-55) to deal with policing matters in the midst of civil unrest. Young returned to his duties as Commissioner of the City of London police in 1955 and remained there until the end of the 1960s.

At this point the experience he had gained in Africa and Asia brought him to the attention of the Labour government in Britain who were now having to deal with growing communal conflict in Northern Ireland. In particular morale within the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) had been badly affected as it had struggled to cope with the situation and the force had also suffered from heavy criticism as to how it had managed many of the disturbances. As a result in 1969 the authorities at Westminster had set up a committee under Lord Hunt to look into the question of reforming the nature and composition of the security forces in Northern Ireland. When this committee produced its final report proposing radical changes Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister, and James Callaghan, then British Home Secretary, decided that Young would be the ideal candidate to lead the RUC through this period of reform. In the end Young decided to accept the invitation and took up the post of Inspector-General (later known as Chief Constable), of the RUC in November 1969 and he was to hold the post until stepping down in November 1970. During his tenure in office the reorganisation of the RUC got underway but failed to win widespread approval with unionist opinion openly hostile to the changes, whilst for many nationalists they were judged as too little and too late to gain their trust or approval in the police force.

Book References:
Elliott, Sydney. and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Ryder, Chris. (2000), The RUC 1922-2000: A Force Under Fire. London: Arrow.
Web Sources:
http://www.psni.police.uk/
[Entry written by B. Lynn - 2January 2003]


Notes:
The information has been compiled from numerous primary and secondary sources.
The best general sources for additional information are:
  • Elliott, Sydney. and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory, 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
  • McRedmond, Louis. (ed.) (1998), Modern Irish Lives: Dictionary of 20th-century Biography. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
  • Ramsden, John. (ed.) (2002), The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    For related and background information see also:
  • The list of acronyms associated with 'the Troubles'
  • The glossary of terms related to the conflict
  • The abstracts on prominent organisations
  • The chronology of the conflict

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