300 members have been killed and 8,000 injured in the Troubles.
Since 1969, the RUC has investigated 3,295 deaths attributed to the security situation; 70 officers have taken their lives due to apparent stress-related causes.
In February 1985 nine officers were killed in a mortar bomb attack on Newry police station.
Killings have fallen since the Newry bombing, but the only full year without any RUC officers being killed was 1996.
A massive judicial workload has been generated by the RUC, with 18,140 people being charged. More than 1,000 people a year were charged from 1973 to 1977.
In charge of the RUC is Sir Ronnie Flanagan, aided by a deputy and eight assistants.
The total budget for the force in 1999-2000 is pounds 657m.
The RUC operates under the auspices of the Independent Police Authority for Northern Ireland, which acts as a link between the force and the community.
Policing reform is seen as a vital part of the peace process.
The Patten report is believed to recommend:
A new name;
A reduction to 8,000 or fewer members;
Measures to increase Catholic members;
A new Police Board with politicians making up about half its membership;
Far-reaching structural changes;
Closer links with the Garda in the Irish Republic;
Generous payments to encourage early retirements;
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