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Dublin Metropolitan Police

The Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) was the police force of Dublin, Ireland, from 1836 to 1925, when it amalgamated into the new Garda Síochána.


  • History 1
    • 19th century 1.1
      • 1836: reform 1.1.1
      • 1880s: Land Wars 1.1.2
    • 20th century 1.2
      • 1913–14: Dublin Lock-out 1.2.1
      • 1916 onwards 1.2.2
  • References 2
  • External links 3


19th century

The Dublin city police had been subject to major reforms in 1786 and 1808.[1] Organised rural policing in Ireland began when Robert Peel, then Chief Secretary for Ireland, created the Peace Preservation Force in 1814.[2] This rudimentary paramilitary police force was designed to provide policing in rural Ireland, replacing the 18th century system of watchmen, baronial constables, revenue officers and British military forces. Peel went on to found the London Metropolitan Police.

In 1822, a new Act created four improved "County" provinces of Ireland.[2]

1836: reform

In 1836, the county constabularies were merged into a new centralised constables and night watchmen it replaced.[1][4]

The 1836 Act authorised the "chief governor of Ireland" to establish a police office in Dublin, supported by two salaried justices, to administer the police force which would be under the direction of the Chief Secretary for Ireland.[4] It also provided for the recruitment and appointment of policemen and the regulation of their conduct.[4] It also created powers of arrest and made arrangements for the financial affairs of the new force, including new taxation.[4]

The DMP was modelled closely on London's Chief Constable, they were commanded by a Commissioner, who was not a police officer, but a magistrate holding a Commission of the Peace. This was descended from the 18th century system of controlling parish constables, and was a sop to the public's fears about the danger of a standing police force under government control.

1880s: Land Wars

The force came under considerable pressure in the 1880s during the Land Wars, in which 500 policemen were injured. A series of protest meetings were held and strikes were threatened in 1882.[4]

20th century

During the Lock-out, the police break up a union rally on Dublin's Sackville Street, August 1913

1913–14: Dublin Lock-out

Two men died and several hundred people were injured over the course of the 5-month Dublin Lock-out, including two hundred policemen. Although the police were involved in "frequent collisions" with union members and used tactics such as baton charges against them, a vice-regal commission cleared them of wrongdoing after the events – though their reputation had suffered considerably.[4]

1916 onwards

As an unarmed urban force, the Dublin Metropolitan Police did not participate as actively in the War of Independence as did the RIC, and as such did not suffer the casualty rate of that force, although three men were killed and seven injured.[4] One of their number David Neligan (who was an IRA agent) records in his book "The Spy in the Castle" that the majority of the DMP uniformed personnel observed a neutral role restricted to traditional policing functions. The political "G" Division did not come off so lightly, and selected "G men" were first warned by the Irish Republican Army in April 1919, and the first was shot in July. Many DMP officers actively assisted the IRA, most infamously Edward Broy, who passed valuable intelligence to Michael Collins throughout the conflict. Another DMP "G" Division spy for Collins was David Neligan. Five of the "G" Division were killed by the IRA.

In the 1996 film Michael Collins, Broy is discovered and subsequently tortured and killed by the British. In reality he was not caught and went on to become the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána in the 1930s.

After the creation of the Irish Free State, the DMP became known as "Políní Átha Cliath" (Police of Dublin) from 1922–1925, after which the force ceased to exist as a separate entity, and was absorbed into the Garda Síochána (Guardians of the Peace).[4] Its last Commissioner was W.R.E. Murphy. "Dublin Metropolitan" is today a geographic region of the Garda Síochána's command structure.

Unlike the RIC but in common with police forces in Great Britain, the DMP was an unarmed force. In this, it provided the inspiration for the first Commissioner of the Garda Síochána, who declared that the new force should also be unarmed.


  1. ^ a b Stanley H. Palmer, 'Drummond, Thomas (1797–1840)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008
  2. ^ a b c d Tobias, J.J. (1975). "Police and the Public in the United Kingdom" in "Police Forces in History".  
  3. ^ 6 & 7 Will.4 c.29
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Statute Law Repeals: Consultation Paper – City of Dublin Repeal Proposals" (PDF).  

External links

  • DMP Roll of Honour in the British National Police Officers Roll of Honour (since this only covers UK forces, the DMP pages only cover up to 1922)
  • Article about DMP on occasion of centenary of 1913 Lockout
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