Catalogue description Metropolitan Police: Special Branch: Registered Files

Search within or browse this series to find specific records of interest.

Date range

Details of MEPO 38
Reference: MEPO 38
Title: Metropolitan Police: Special Branch: Registered Files

The records in this series consist of registered files relating to the work of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch (MPSB). They cover a wide range of subjects and are intended to reflect the range of duties performed by the branch. The records include both policy files and individual case papers.

Date: 1880-1997

In 1923 the Special Branch registry, which had hitherto been independent from other record-keeping systems, was absorbed into the central registry (General Registry) of the Metropolitan Police. This was however largely in order to facilitate staffing levels and its work remained independent from other types of registration. In 1940 the General Registry was reorganised and since that time the MPSB has maintained an independent registry.

The MPSB file numbering system closely follows that of the General Registry and uses a three digit prefix to denote the subject matter beginning at 300 (e.g. 350 relates to naturalisation). Prior to 1940 the file numbering system also incorporated two or three letter codes ("sub-cuts") between the prefix and the sequential number to further refine the subject matter. In 1940 the sub-cuts (of which there were 112) were replaced with numbers to identify the year of creation. A new sequence was created for each year.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Metropolitan Police, Special Branch, 1887-

Metropolitan Police, Special Irish Branch, 1883-1887

Physical description: 182 file(s)
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Selection and destruction information: Metropolitan Police Special Branch records are subjected to a review process, during which those of no historical importance or continued administrative use are routinely destroyed. The earliest surviving records of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch date from 1888. Many of the records which have survived, as well as more recent records, contain information which remains sensitive long after the files have passed out of active use and, as a result, are the subject of retention within the department.
Accruals: Series is accruing
Administrative / biographical background:

From its origins to the present day the primary purpose of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch has been to acquire, assess and interpret intelligence, and where necessary take executive action against political subversion, public disorder and terrorism within the United Kingdom.

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research

How to look for...