1968 is a pivotal year for politics, protest and undercover policing. While as topics they have each received considerable attention, much less is known about how they intersected. This is starting to change as Special Branch documents from the time, released through FOIA requests, shed new light on this. More expected to emerge due to the Undercover Policing Inquiry, so increasing our understanding.
In this section you will find various materials relating to this period, including the Special Branch files themselves.
Jac St. John gives an overview of the Special Branch files that provide insight into the policing of public order in 1968, particularly in the run up to the 27th October protest.
Donal O’Driscoll, in a long piece, provides detail about the groups which protesting in 1968 against the Vietnam War so as to place the activities of Special Branch in context. Particularly he looks at the creation and deployment of the Special Demonstration Squad, the undercover unit founded in 1968 to infiltrate the anti-Vietnam War movement, and which spent the subsequent forty years targeting political groups of all stripes. An in-depth examination of how things were organised on the ground is provided for better understanding of how individual officers were deployed against particular groups active in the era.
- Anti Vietnam War – Story (Jac St. John)
- Anti-Vietnam War – Files
- Protest and Special Branch in 1968 (Dónal O’Driscoll)