Over 25 years of guerrilla warfare have made the IRA a major problem
for the police and armed forces; for both sides, the gathering of
intelligence is vital. Electronic and human surveillance of IRA
suspects is conducted constantly by the security forces, as is the
use of informants.
Techniques have been developed by the IRA to combat British Army
radio signals by using radar guns and microwave receivers. British
intelligence sources have been successful in effecting the seizure
of major consignments of arms destined for IRA use, such as that
made in October 1971 by Dutch police at Schiphol airport. As a means
of defeating airborne surveillance of arms dumps, major IRA arms
bunkers are now generally built inside farm buildings or under silage
pits. On capture and imprisonment, IRA members demand recognition
as prisoners of war (POW) with special category status.