Sir Roger Birch
An exclusive interview with Sir Roger Birch to mark the 30th anniversary of the Grand Hotel Bombing
In the early hours of October 12,1984 an IRA bomb exploded in Brighton’s Grand Hotel where the Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher and many members of the government were staying during the Conservative Party Conference. Five people were killed and dozens were injured. Damage was massive. It was a mighty challenge for the police and emergency services.
The newly-appointed Chief Constable of Sussex Police, Sir Roger Birch, vividly remembers having to take charge of a shock crisis which echoed across the world.
The Bomb Explodes
Despite the appalling effects of the bomb, the Chief Constable had to work quickly with members of the government in deciding what to do about keeping the conference going.
The show must go on
As the Conservative Conference came to an end, Sir Roger Birch led a minutely detailed and intensive investigation into the murder and mayhem caused by the bombing. It would eventually lead to the conviction of Provisional IRA activist Patrick Magee.
Many lessons were learnt about security and the dangers of having so many important people in one place where they could be attacked. As Sir Roger Birch is only too aware, the bombing of Brighton’s Grand Hotel changed the whole nature of security – not only here in the UK but around the world. (Oct 2014)
Copyright Ian Collington and Paul Beaken
The museum wishes to thank Sir Roger Birch