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'You go to work and you might be shot dead. You imagine being horribly maimed in a bomb blast. You come home and wonder if you'll be shot at the door. You go to bed with a revolver on the bedside cabinet. At times you wonder if this is really part of the UK'
This was the world inhabited by Richard Latham during his service with the Royal Ulster Constabulary – a force that remains an institution of contradictions and intrigue to many outside observers. Considered by some to be one of the finest police forces in the world, its officers are looked upon by others as the evil storm-troopers of Unionism and the British Goverment. The RUC is now a force undergoing sweeping change in response to Republican demands, yet for 30 years it stood alongside the British Army in a war with Republicans that killed over 300 policemen and injured thousands more.
For 14 years Latham, an Englishman, served as a police officer, both in England and in Ulster, transferring from the English Special Branch to the RUC in 1991. Deadly Beat is his raw and hard-hitting story, giving a unique insight into the grim reality of policing Ulster.
Latham charts the dedication and restraint of officers who witnessed their colleagues die, yet were obliged to play within the rules of the law - rules so loaded in favour of the killers that comparatively few were brought to justice.
This book exposes incidents of racism and religious bias experienced by the author himself. It looks behind the scenes to reveal the extremes of behaviour, alcohol abuse, womanising and petty corruption that the heady cocktail of stress, big pay packets and a sense of 'living for the day' bring to many of the men who don the RUC uniform. Deadly Beat is an open, warts-and-all view of the RUC by a man who makes intuitive comparisons between policing on the mainland and serving in Ulster.