Cable Street Particulars

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An old secret police organization recently reformed by Commander Vimes, of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, because "you need secret policemen to find out about secret crimes". They form what might be the detective bureau elsewhere, doing undercover surveillance and investigating more sophisticated "white-collar" crimes beyond the abilities of, say, Fred Colon or Detritus. As the name implies, their headquarters is in Cable Street.

During the reign of Lord Winder, the Cable Street Particulars were a much feared organization, nicknamed the "Unmentionables", tasked with finding conspirators and obtaining confessions by any means. This generally meant torture, which was not discontinued when it presented danger of death or major organ failure. The Unmentionables were headed by Findthee Swing, originally a member of the City Watch and given command of Cable Street by Lord Winder. Their headquarters were raided during the Glorious Revolution by Sergeant-At-Arms Keel and his men, and subsequently burned down. The Cable Street Particulars were dissolved for some time.

Other members of the old unreformed Particulars, named in Night Watch, included

  • Sergeant Carcer
  • the clerk Trebilcock;
  • Gerald Leastways, a.k.a. Ferret;
  • Todzy
  • Muffer
  • Henry 'The Hamster' Higgins
  • A corporal who paid Nobby Nobbs a pitiful amount to keep an eye on John Keel
  • an unidentified Torturer

Current members include:


Just as Cable Street in Ankh-Morpork was one of the flashpoints of the Glorious Revolution and its equivalent of the Storming of the Bastille, Cable Street in the East End of London saw a popular uprising against a decision to let the British Union of Fascists march and rally there. The Battle of Cable Street (1938) saw the local, predominantly Jewish, population rise up against the authorities and spontaneously rioted in protest, barricading the street, fighting running battles with the police and Fascists, and effectively preventing the British Nazis from a provocative march through a Jewish area.

The name "Cable Street Particulars" also recalls the "Baker Street Irregulars," London street urchins whom Sherlock Holmes sometimes employed for information and surveillance, "to go everywhere, see everything and overhear everyone."

The "Unmentionables", while probably being a reference to Eliot Ness's "Untouchables" (the Prohibition Police in Chicago, circa 1930), is also, in genteel British English, a euphemism for underwear, but has also been used to refer to the male genitalia. So what were people really calling Swing and his Particulars?