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Our history



Delve into our past as we take you on a journey through some of our history over the last 50 years and beyond.

To read in-depth reports on our more recent investigations, visit our Case Files.

Patrol March 1979: West's first bike and rider both doing well





With the Force Public Relations Department and Traffic Division scouring the county and elsewhere for police vehicles from the past came the news that the man who was the first motor-cycle patrol in West Sussex was alive and well.

And not only that ex-Sgt. Bill “Tiny” Dear was to give a talk on his early experiences to the Force Motor Cycle Club. For Bill has a fund of stories, as PATROL discovered during an interview with him at his home in Worthing.

A bonus to the interview was the discovery that Bill’s first exclusively operational machine was also still on the road lovingly restored and maintained by an enthusiast in the Midlands.

Tiny Dear - he stands 6ft. 4in. tall - joined the West Sussex Constabulary on New Year’s Eve, 1923. He had learned to ride a motor-cycle in 1919 while serving in Germany with the Sussex Yeomanry.

“I took my own bike with me when I joined the Force,” said Bill. “It was a belt-driven Douglas I’d bought for £40 in Portsmouth. All they had in the Force was an old motor-cycle combination which I used to use as transport for the Superintendent.”

Penny a mile

Bill was soon posted to Worthing and he was asked to use his own bike on duty, for which he was paid a penny a mile.

"Having my own transport meant I got copped for all the jobs,” Bill recalled. “They used to call me the mobile unit, and I was forever flying about, dealing with an accident here, a suicide there . . .”

'There wasn’t a great deal of traffic on the roads in those days and the speed limit through Findon was a head swimming 10 m.p.h. “For a speed trap, a Sergeant and myself used a white handkerchief and a stop-watch.”

But as the Roaring Twenties progressed, traffic became thicker and faster. By 1926, barely two years after joining the Force, Bill felt the need for a machine more suited to a job that was developing every day. So he went to the Motorcycle Show at Olympia.

On the Brough stand he got talking to “a little chap” who offered enough sound advice to convince Bill that a Brough Superior SS80 was the machine he needed. The “little chap” was T. E. Lawrence - Lawrence of Arabia.

Bill bought his bike from another famous pre-war figure - the legendary and flamboyant George Brough himself, a man who was to remain a friend for years to come.

The days of stop-watch and white hankie were over for good. Astride his Brough Superior - registered number TV 2416 - Bill was able to follow motorists and riders, checking their progress against his own speedometer. The age of the traffic cop had arrived.

Another duty fell on Bill’s shoulders - providing the motorcycle escort whenever royalty visited the county.

The years went by - years charted by such names as Sunbeam, Matchless, Enfield, A.J.S., J.A.P. - and Bill moved on to cars. Austin Chummy, Riley, M.G. Roadster, Wolseley . . .

Bill retired as a Sergeant in 1955, and settled into a new life-style. Then one day in 1977 he received a telephone call from a Mr. L. F. Sanger. Had he, the caller wanted to know, ever owned a Brough Superior motorcycle, index number TV 2416?

Mr. Sanger explained that he found it in an old garage and had restored it. He was entering it for the Historic Vehicles Silver Jubilee Tribute at Windsor and Ascot. Perhaps Bill would care to come along.

Bill went. “It was odd to see the old bike there among all those historic vehicles,” he said. “And even odder to sit on the very machine on which I’d covered so many miles back in the old days.”

Times have changed. Dual carriageways and motorways have covered yesteryear’s lanes and byways. B.M.W.s and Moto- Guzzis do the work of the Broughs and Sunbeams. Muni-Quip, Truvelo and VASCAR have replaced the hankie and stop­watch.

But 78-year-old Bill Dear is still on the road, alert and active as ever driving a Mazda saloon, as like as not to take part in another match in his favourite pastime, bowls.


New technology motor-cycles for the Force

Two new motor-cycles, Norton Interpol 2s service by the motor-cycle teams at Chichester and Brighton
They are conducting in-service evaluation for three months after which they will be transferred to the other two teams based at Hastings and Haywards Heath.

This is for long-term evaluation in all areas of the Force and with a maximum number of officers.

The Chief Constable, in his quarterly report to the Police Authority, said that it may be possible to consider, once again, purchasing British manufactured motor-cycle for traffic patrol purposes.

Behind this statement lie years of testing by Norton Motors (1978) Limited, who have designed, built, and tested a completely new type of motor-cycle specially for police use.

The prototype evaluation and proving was conducted by Norton in conjunction with the West Midlands Police. One factory vehicle has covered 68,000 miles on road test and another machine regularly used on traffic patrol by the West Midlands police has covered 17,000 miles. The manufacturer claim a life expectancy for the new vehicles in excess of 100,000 miles.

New concept

There are many interesting design points in this new concept machine;
• The engine is a twin chambered air cooled Wankel design of 588cc capacity generating 82 brake horsepower at 9000 r.p.m.
• The five-speed gearbox drives the rear wheel via a chain running through a totally enclosed chain case with its own integral sealed oil bath.
• The braking system comprises twin front discs and a single rear disc, all of stainless steel with Textar all weather brake pads.
• The ignition system is of the Capacitor Discharge Type with a variable resistance electromagnetic pulse generator ignition trigger unit.

The cost of these new machines is about £3,400 fully equipped for police use. This is slightly higher than the cost of the Moto Guzzis currently in use but considerable savings are envisaged — the replacement mileage for Moto-Guzzis is 40,000.

Patrol article November 1973: Increased horse power for Traffic Division

Some surprise has been expressed at the announcement that the Force Mounted Section has become a unit of the Traffic Division. It is not intended, as some might suppose, to be an answer to the threatened possibility of shortage of motor fuel.

It is the Chief Constable's decision that the former mounted section, divided between Eastbourne and Brighton, should be replaced by a single section, offering a service to the Force area as a whole, and as the Traffic Chief Superintendent is the only Divisional Commander with county wide responsibility, it is logical that he should have the task of administering and supervising the new section, with its broader area of activity.

There is no intention of depriving the people of Eastbourne and Brighton of the sight of mounted policemen performing duty in their areas, but the new system will facilitate such activities taking place not only in those two towns, but also in any part of Sussex where the horses can be used with advantage.

The Mounted Section will comprise, in the first instance, police horse Roland and a new horse named Justin. Their riders will be Constables Peter Sheppard and Donald Austin, who have already performed duty with the Brighton based horse, and Constable Jack Williams from Eastbourne, who was a familiar figure, popularly known as the “Downs Ranger."

It is hoped that mounted policemen will become a familiar sight over a much wider area of Sussex, and Divisional officers are being encouraged to make the maximum use of their services in appropriate circumstances.

Patrol article November 1971: Keeping them on the roads

Behind the blue sliding doors, two floors below street level at Brighton Police Station is one of the vital departments in any efficient police force — the Vehicle Workshops. The ultimate in radio communications, and highly trained traffic patrol drivers are rendered useless if the traffic cars, panda cars or motorcycles are unreliable and break down before reaching an emergency call.

To keep the fleet of some 600 vehicles in tip top condition is the responsibility of the Fleet Service Engineer and the Vehicle Workshops. The number of workshops is being reduced, but they are to be better equipped.

At Brighton the Workshops have been redesigned and reequipped over the last six months, but the ideas and plans have been formulating for a number of years.


For a start there is now 100 per cent, more floor space and it is possible to work on 12 vehicles at a time without having to move another vehicle for access. The former workshops had just one free wheel suspension lift but now there are four, two of these having been constructed over the former pits.

All benches and sundry equipment have been moved out of the main workshop into what is now known as the Machine Shop. In this room fitters work on motor-cycles, simple soldering jobs are done, as is tyre changing and wheel balancing.
In addition there is a store room, rest room and reception office.

An average of 188 services are completed each month, which is about seven cars a day on routine services and the rest made up of unexpected defects and major overhauls. One hundred and fifty eight vehicles are serviced once a month and 20 traffic cars are serviced twice a month. When the full potential of the workshops is reached some 230 services will be completed each month, with a staff of nine fitters, one chargehand, a supervisory Police Sergeant and Police Constable.

The Brighton Workshops are primarily concerned with the vehicles of T.4 and T.6, but their catchment area extends to Lewes, Haywards Heath, Newhaven and Seaford. All the vehicles in the central area are maintained in Brighton but at the moment only about half the vehicles from the outer areas are involved. One of the fitters lives in Burgess Hill and another in Seaford and in each case they collect and return the vehicles to their local police stations.

Economy of time and effort were the watchwords for the new Workshop design team, and this applied not only to the floor organization but also to the purchasing of new equipment.

The most comprehensive pieces of equipment are yet to arrive. They are a Dynamometer and Brake Tester, which simulate in the Vehicle Workshop any road situation. Various acceleration loads, braking situations and speeds up to 150 m.p.h. will be possible, and this will be an advance in engine tuning and developing work. It will also be possible to accurately calibrate speedometers on Traffic Patrol Cars in the Work­shops.


But already there is a Sun 720 Electronic Engine Tester which when read with mechanical knowledge completely diagnoses engine defects. This machine has proved itself time and time again, but particularly in solving the carburation problem experienced with the Lotus Cortinas. All the fitters have been trained to use this machine.

The main lubrication bay has hose reels for grease, engine oils, gear oils, and oil spraying, which pumps oil direct into the sump, eliminating contamination and the handling of numerous small tins.

Another useful piece of equipment is a sump oil extractor. Sump oil is emptied into portable carriers at the maintenance bays which are then taken to a pump fixed to one of the outside walls. The oil is then pumped away into a storage tank outside.


The Workshops have their own ventilation system and a special extractor which fits over single and double exhaust pipes.
The small Workshop at Hove Police Station is also part of the Brighton set-up and the two work in close co-operation. “It is important to remember that these are one of the Force workshops, and are not there just for the local divisions,” Sergeant Rummery told PATROL. “Any Force vehicle in difficulties is welcome.”

But apart from the servicing of police vehicles the Workshops are also involved in some experimental work. For example, at the present time they are working on ways of electrically operating the “ Police-Stop” sign used in plain patrol cars, and mounting lamps on a tripod so that they can be operated at every conceivable angle.


Patrol January 1992: Thanks for the 'copter AND SANTA'S SLEIGH

A WEARY "FATHER Christmas" rang Sussex Police on Christmas Eve to say thank you.

A father in Hove had spent ages trying to get his over excited son to bed, but to no avail.

That was until the police helicopter was called out to help search for two intruders who were disturbed in a nearby house.

Officers received two telephone calls - one from a resident complaining about the noise, the other from the boy's father to day thank you. His son had jumped unto bed web he heard the helicopter, thinking it was Santa's sleigh!

'Spotlight On...' series and other videos

Oddities and curiosities part 2


A TOP lesbian and gay publication has shortlisted Sussex Police as one of the best in the country.

Readers of the fortnightly Pink Paper have been casting their votes in the annual competition and as a result a shortlist of five forces has been drawn up. The others are Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire, Staffordshire and the Met.

Readers are now being asked to choose between the five, with the winners announced on 11 January.

So go buy your copy and vote!!


SUSSEX Police took a top national award for its innovative work with disabled people at the RADAR People of the Year Human Rights Awards.

The Force saw off stiff competition to win the Disability Equality Scheme Award, given to a public body that has proven its commitment to implementing the disability equality duty.

One of the key criteria is that disabled people need to be fully involved in the work.

Sussex earned the award for developing an emergency mobile phone text service and for incorporating sign language video clips on its website.

Representing the Force at the ceremony, which was hosted by BBC political correspondent Reeta Chakrabarti, were CC Martin Richards, ACC Robin Merrett, Diversity Manager Dave Tonkin and Head of Employee Relations Sue Peckham, along with Sarah Playforth from the East Sussex Disability Association (ESDA).

The Sussex award, sponsored by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, was presented by Baroness Jane Campbell of Surbiton.

ACC Merrett said: ‘The RADAR award is great news and reflects the exceptional work of many people within Sussex Police. Importantly, it also demonstrates the commitment of Sussex Police to protect and serve all the people of Sussex.

The Equality Scheme was devised in collaboration with disabled people and has already helped shape the delivery of policing, such as the website which now has sound and signing.

We now need to build on this success as we reach out to all the diverse groups within Sussex.”

ESDA’s Sarah Playforth said: “It was a pleasure to work with Sussex Police and I would like to thank them for their commitment and also pay tribute to the Brighton & Hove Federation of Disabled People, the West Sussex Association for Disabled People and all the individuals who worked with ESDA to create such a powerful project."

The disability equality duty forms part of the Disability Discrimination Act, the UK's principal legislation aimed at ensuring fair treatment to disabled people and people with long term conditions. It requires public sector organisations to promote disability equality by ensuring that policies and practices do not have a negative impact on disabled people.

Working with disability groups covering East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove, Sussex Police agreed to a four pronged engagement strategy with disabled people. Online and postal surveys were organised, three conferences were convened and one-to-one interviews were conducted.

Disabled police staff took part in surveys and focus group.

The award recognised that the efforts taken to engage with disabled people had resulted in:

  • the planned introduction of an emergency text service;
    improved access to police services across all fronts
  • a new disabled officers' network;
    a three-year programme to make the Force website fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act; and
    an information booklet, Serving with Disabilities, for new recruits to the Force.

RADAR chief executive Liz Sayce said: "Our People of Year Awards celebrate those who are at the cutting edge of making Britain a more inclusive place.”

THE Sussex Black Police Association has been officially launched, a move which has been praised and supported by the HMI, Chief Constable, Chair of the Police Authority, Federation and the Sussex community as a whole.

At an evening event held at the Thistle Hotel in Brighton, over 200 people attended to support the launch of the new association which aims to improve the working environment for black staff employed by Sussex Police and increase trust and confidence of the ethnic minority community.

In the words of guest speaker Mike Franklin, from HMIC, ‘the need for black police associations is as great as it has ever been' and he praised the Force for rising above objections and supporting the group.

Addressing the audience, Chief Constable Ken Jones said: “I'll make no apologies for the debate in the pages of PATROL in  February when many people aired their views about the formation of this group. It was right that the debate took place. But many concerns raised were about lack of knowledge and that’s the barrier we are up against. There is a need to raise people's awareness and a need to educate.”

The SBPA initially formed in  November 2001 when a core number of staff established working practices and developed a support group for all black and ethnic minority staff with the Force. The present membership is 23, with a further 20 associate members. This represents 40% of the total recorded black and ethnic police, support and special staff of Sussex Police.

Cl Kul Verma, who is chair of the group, said: “The key challenge for any organisation is to dismantle any barriers for black and minority ethnic staff and the community it serves. We have shown our resolve to be a part of the solution and develop policies and practices that build greater trust with the community. We are both the conscience of the organisation and its advisor in race matters. This is a unique position and has resulted in positive change to race issues and equality matters.

“The mere existence of this support association will send a clear statement of intent that we will be able to offer support, advice and guidance for black and ethnic minority staff, whether they are members or not.”

During the last year the SBPA has been involved in work such as diversity projects, national groups and linking in with black  and ethnic minority community groups.

The launch included speeches from CI Verma, Chief Constable Ken Jones, Chair of Sussex Police Authority David Rogers, Brian Stockham from the Sussex Police Federation, Mike Franklin from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, and President of the National Black Police Association Ravi Chand. There was also a powerful song from Spectrum Sound and a letter of support was read out from Home Secretary David Blunkett.

“This is the beginning of a new chapter of the history if Sussex Police,” added CI Verma. “We are demonstrating our will to change by doing the right thing. A quote from Dr Martin Luther King encapsulates the message of the SBPA: ‘Let my children not be judged by the colour of their skin but by their character.’”


Oddities and curiosities part 1

RECENT coverage of the 25th anniversary of amalgamation, brought to mind much earlier times in the history of policewomen. Younger officers may not know that policewomen had their beginnings before the first world war.

Duties began in the larger cities, partly on a voluntary basis and mainly of a welfare nature, while some women became officially employed for cell duty and excreting of prisoners. Out of humble beginnings grew the Women’s Police Service, an organisation separate from the established male police forces.

When the war came they were given more extensive training and put to work at munitions factories, which employed hundreds, if not thousands, of women and girls who fled from Europe as refugees. Inevitably they brought with them many problems of homelessness, destitution and prostitution and, by no means least, difficulties of languages.

When war ended the question arose as to what should be done with this body of trained and experienced women. Disbandment was, of course, an option. However, the Home Secretary of the time persuaded a number of Chief Constables to accept some of them as additional members of their Forces.

So it was that, after war service in a munitions factory at Gretna, Miss Mabel Read arrived at Hove in July 1919 to be the town’s first policewoman, where she served until retiring on pension. She was joined by a second policewoman, of whom, I have no knowledge, but understand she left after a few years service.

A local newspaper reported that the cost of employing the policewoman was ‘£4.15s a week for the two’, half of which would be met the Treasury Grant.

Miss Read’s arrival was marked by a full front page spread in a national publication ‘The Policewomen’s Review’. She was pictured in her uniform with long lace up leather boots, a skirt long enough to show no leg, and a tunic with huge patch pockets and a wide leather belt. The hat, indelicately known as the ‘po hat’, bore a striking resemblance, in shape if not substance, to the smaller brimmed reinforced style worn today.

After a year’s service, reports had to be submitted detailing every type of duty policewomen had performed, and the number of instances of such duties, which mainly involved women and girls.

A Chief Inspector, adding his own views, noted that the policewomen spent considerable time tying, filing and doing administrative work for the Detective Department. This, he considered, would be a good training ground and would greatly enhance the efficiency of the force, if ‘ordinary constables’ were allowed to take turns at doing that work. Whatever the merits of the idea, ‘ordinary constables’ policewomen definitely were not!

The Chief Constable duly advised the Watch Committee that he thought policewomen could do the work single-handed with occasional help from a matron. ‘Sight should not be lost of the fact that policewomen were entitled to a pension in the same way as policemen’ – no doubt a valid point in those days.

It was my privilege to know Mabel Read during the latter years of her retirement – a most ‘proper’ and determined character.
I only wish I had taken the trouble to more fully record her experiences. No-one can tell what might have been the course of events had there been no war, and no munitions factories employing refugees.

Undoubtedly, policewoman would have arrived on the scene sooner or later, in the years leading up to the equal opportunities world of today, but how much poorer history would have been without the grit and tenacity of those early veterans.

Read more about Supt. Janet Skeef in a tribute written after her passing at age 86.



As one of the two switchboard operators at Headquarters, Des Chandler is often the first person that anyone speaks to when they phone up. What most of these people will not release is that he is totally blind. 

Des was born in Zimbabwe and for his national service joined the Army. In 1978 at the age of 20 he was seriously injured by a land mine explosion. Since then he has been totally blind.

After ten weeks in hospital Des came to England to go to St Dunstan's in Rottingdean. He spent six months there and as well as general training was taught to be a lathe operator. On his return to Zimbabwe he used this skill to get a job.

In October, 1984, with his wife and young son, Des emigrated and went to live in Saltdean. On his arrival he returned to St Dunstan's and did an intensive three month Braille course. He was also taught how to type using the ordinary touch typing method but with markers on certain keys.

After this Des took a two month telephonist course and an advanced one organised by British Telecom.

Des went to work on the Headquarters swtichboard in July after close consultation between St Dunstan's and Superintendent Fred Weller, Communications.

St Dunstan provided a blind operator position adaption for the switchboard. Basically this translates the flashing lights on the console into movement. In short, it means that Des can operate the switchboard by touch rather than sight.


They also supplied a micro-computer with a voice synthesiser. Des puts all the names and extensions of people at Headquarters and Lewes Police station into the computer.

When he gets a call, he types the name in and the computer reads out the extension number. This system depends very much on him being kept closely in touch with all the personal changes. 

Superintendent Weller emphasised the close co-operation between the police, St Dunstan's and British Telecomm who fitted the system, in the adaptation of the switchboard. As he pointed out: "Everyone was extremely helpful and Des is doing a first rate job."

Des is enjoying the job and finds it a "big challenge, you never quite know what the next call is going to be." The switchboard itself with more than 400 extensions and 600 people is much larger than the ones he has used before.

As well as the switchboard Des had to cope with the surroundings. He came to Headquarters with a representative from St Dunstan's who took him around the Communications building. He is now able to to move around the complex independently. He is moving to Lewes soon and will then make his own way to work as well.


NEWLY-APPOINTED chartered occupational psychologist David Wigfield is focusing his skills on Force personnel and training.

David, 27, formerly worked with Saville & Holdsworth Ltd, a leading European consultancy of occupational psychologists, which has advised Sussex Police in the past on occupational assessment and management development.

Reporting to Supt. Mel Elliott (Training)  most of David's efforts will in training.

He will be involved in personal development courses. Already he has run refresher workshops in assessment skills for training assessors for promotion selection and a workshop in counselling and interviewing skills for promotion selection and hopes to create a street management course.

He said: "There is a lot of challenging work ahead but I'm impressed with the excellent of camaraderie throughout the organisation and by the Force's drive towards professionalism and positive change. 

"I am planning many courses, yet my role will not be to direct all of them but to advise on their design and choose suitable training to run them. ."

David said: "The remainder of my time is to provide a general consultancy service to the Force as a whole. For instance, I am helping the Firearms Unit to evaluate their selection methods.

"Among my aims are to provide an entirely confidential counselling service to staff on work related issues and to introduce systems so that officers and staff who have been exposed to stressful situations can receive immediate support."

POLICE officers from the four corners of the globe converged on Sussex to get an insight int the workings of a modern British police force.

The eight officers from as far as Swaziland, Argentina and India spent four days in force as part of the international Police Commanders programme based at the police training college in Bramshill, Berkshire.

The officers has already completed several weeks of theory at the college before getting the change to see its application in Sussex. It was the first time international commanders had visited Sussex since 1993. 


The Force put together a packed programme to give the visitors an insight into the work of divisions and departments. A visit to Sussex House gave the officers an idea of the latest advances in investigative work.

There were also day trips to compare different aspects of divisional policing in Gatwick and Brighton and specialist units including the Air Support Unit and Underwater Search showed off their unique role. 

Ch Insp Nick Reeves of Uniformed Operations said: "The visit gave the commanders some food for thought and I hope they find some of our ideas and working methods useful.  They were particularly impressed with our deployment of SOU officers and our approach to community problem solving through partnerships.

Although we had a lot to offer our visitors we found that there were definite benefits in listening to their experiences and learning from them. The visit was very much a two way road" 

TEAMWORK between handler and dog was the order of the day as members of the Force Dog Unit were presented with trophies and certificates at a recent ceremony at Headquarters.

Sussex Police Authority member Dr Laurie Bush, ACC Geoff Williams and Mr and Mrs Les Cawley, presented the awards which included the Ralph Major Memorial Trophy and the Les Cawley Trophy.

The Ralph Major Memorial Award is presented to the handler and the dog whose work at an individual incident demonstrates the highest professional policing standards and this it went to PC Gill Gipson and PC Taz.

The pair arrived at the scene of a burglary in the rural area north of Haywards Heath and started tracking away from the premises. The track lasted for two miles over mixed surfaces, during which time PD Taz also found discarded stolen property. He finally found a suspect in the driveway of another house, still with stolen property on him. A man was charged with eight burglaries.

The Les Cawley Trophy is given to the handler who has shown the most consistent industry and professional policing standards during 2004. The recipient this year was PC Colin Moon, with PD Rio for arresting 94 people for offences including robbery, theft, damage and violence. The pair has also located a number of missing people. PC Simon Hunt with PD Rommel was runner-up.

PC Sue West was presented with a Departmental Congratulations for her operational results and contribution to the section in her first few months as a handler with PD Otto. Starting at out together in early 2004 they have been responsible for for 53 arrests, over 100 stop checks and responding to over 200 grade one calls.

ACC Williams said: "The very high standard of police work shown by those receiving awards is a reflection of the unit across the Force." 


Newly qualified police dog Shadow measures up for the long jump and waits for the word of command from his handler PC Tom Bowles during the passing out parade and demonstration at the end of the first dog training course ever held by the Force.

Two other dogs who passed out at the same time were the Rottweiler Blitz (handler PC Bill Hopkins) and Alsatian Duke (handler PC Peter Sims). All three dogs demonstrated their obedience and skills in tracking and criminal work.

They were watched by the breeders who had provided the dogs – Mr and Mrs Dick Seymour in the case of Blitz, and Mrs Anne Butler in the case of the Alsatians – and by other members of the Dog Section and Operational Support Group.

Passing out certificates were presented to the handlers by the Deputy Chief Constable, Mr Pat Ross.

TWO of the best known characters at Gatwick Airport have gone into a hard-earned retirement.

Sniffer dogs Lucy and Oscar have bowed out after more than seven years of service.

But their shift has been taken over by two keen pups, Lily and Charlie.

PC Chris Murray, the explosive search dog handler of nine year old Oscar and 18 month old Charlie, said: "They are settling in really well, they are a bit excitable at the moment but as soon as they realise they will be doing the same searches day in day out they'll soon calm down."

Springer spaniels Lily and Charlie have gone through a month-long training course.

PC Paul Kendall, who handles Lucy and Lily, said: "Lily is great. We got her from a farm in Crawley Downm and luckily she took to the course really well. It is trail and error really, you just need to find the right dog for the job."

Meanwhile retirement brings a whole new challenge for Oscar and Lucy. Chris said: "Oscar has always been a bit wary of other dogs, so to begin with he would scrap with Charlie all day. But he's got over it now and they are the best of friends."

Sgt Jan Lavis joined in 1982 retired in 2018, kindly shared her experience of those early years of her career.

‘I joined Sussex Police as a cadet in 1980 and then as a regular in 1982. I was posted to “C2” at Brighton, this being everything east of London Road / Ditching Road.  My beat in the early days included the police station in John Street, Brighton which was also where the mounted branch and its four horses were based.

The stables (used for storage now I think) made a great tea stop and shelter from the rain and from the prying eyes of the sergeant. I had a horsey background having owned my own and ridden most of my life up to that point and needless to say I got to know the mounted branch officers really well.

The mounted branch time was small with just four horses but they were used for a variety of things such as patrolling, missing person searches and public order. They were regularly deployed at Brighton and Hove Albion’s old Goldstone Ground and were an integral part of policing for the football matches in the 80s.

I believe it was around 1985 that the branch was disbanded which more or less coincided with the force getting its first helicopter.

There had never been a female officer on the mounted branch in Sussex and the inspector in charge of the Mounted Branch and Dog Unit at that time, made it quite clear that there never would be. I do believe he was “of his era” but find that really funny now when I look at all the female dog handlers. Fortunately for me, the Brighton Superintendent had a different view and approved my application to do a three month attachment to the unit, the first by a female officer.’

I READ with great interest the article in PATROL on the new fleet of multi purpose vehicles for the dog section. How times have changed! I joined the West Sussex Dog Section in 1964, when the dog was carried in your own car for which you were paid 91/2d (4p) per mile, each mile being carefully scrutinised. Dog biscuits were supplied but there was an allowance of just £1 a week to buy meat. On the single rest day a week, the car had to be cleaned before taking out my wife and children.

The first dog handler bought his own dog and attended he dog training course during his annual leave. On return, he would demonstrate the dog's ability in front of the Chief Constable who declared the Force would pay five shillings towards the upkeep of the animal. In time, we were provided with minivans which we adapted ourselves for the dogs, adding partitioned walls. We thought they were wonderful, but please don't tell me they were the good old days!!!

It's not the sort of behaviour you expect from a police dog. There's this woman, one of 2,300 people who attended the open day at Hove, and she happens to like dogs.

So she offers the hand of friendship to this canine member of the Force and what happens? He nicks her glove. Well, even a police dog can have his off moments, particularly at the end of a long day. 

The open day was well supported, and afterwards several people wrote appreciatively to Hove Police Station. One letter contained a donation of £3 to a police charity.

RAJAH is four this month but his handler, P. C. Robert Terry, is not sure on which day to give him that extra bone because there is doubt about the exact date of birth. Rajah came to us without a properly authenticated pedigree, although there is no doubt he is clearly a pure Alsatian. He showed his quality by finishing tenth in the last year's United Kingdom National Police Trials. He is now based at Worthing after transferring from Bexhill nearly a year ago.

A lot of his time is spent looking for missing children, especially during the summer months. He was headlined last August for his part in the re-capturing of an escaped prisoner from Ford Prison who had been missed by the prison authorities in the early hours one morning. Rajah tracked him to the main road where the track was lost because of traffic. However, during a search of nearby buildings, Rajah found the man hiding on top of a high haystack in a barn.

On another occasion, P. C. Terry took Rajah to a house where a person had been disturbed in the back garden. After tracking over some open land the dog reached a wrought iron gate which the intruder had climbed to reach the main road. The man was in such a hurry that he had left half of his trousers on the gate spikes. He obviously agreed that police are a deterrent.

KAISER, at two years of age, has onyl 10 months' active service, having first reported for duty in February, 1969. However, in that short space of time he has at least two exiting tales to tell. First he was called to a building materials depot where there was thought to be an intruder. After searching without success, P. C. David Schofield - Kaiser's handler - thought the intruder was probably on the roof.

Leaving the dog behind - even police dogs cannot climb drainpipes - P. C. Schofield climbed to the roof and sure enough found the intruder.

On another occassion, Kaiser took a more active part, when three young people suspected of attempted burglary made off towards Chichester Harbour in the early hours of the morning. ALthough the area was thoroughly searched nothing was found until Kaiser picked up a track whcih led some distance away to three young people hiding under a hedge.

P. C. Schofield, who is Force Clay Pigeon Shooting Champion, has looked after Kaiser since a puppy and has just two years' service with the Dog Section. ""There is nothing particularly outstanding about my dog," he says, "except his completely even temper." They are stationed at Chichester.


THE Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has announced trials for a newly designed unisex police helmet.

Three forces will take part in a pilot for three months, with proposals to extend the initial trials in May, although this does not include Sussex.

Barry Taylor, ACPO spokesman on Police Uniform, said: “The new helmet has evolved as part of the development of the national specifications for police uniforms. Research has shown that one in eight officers suffer head injuries each year, whilst the helmet remains a traditional symbol of the British officer.”Patrol-Article-April-2004-Rounding-on-the-custodian-helmet

Patrol-article-jan-1986-uniform-notes-by-sergeant-mike-rumble-headquarters-trainingFormed in 1838 to police the ever expanding town of Brighton, the Force's first uniform followed the pattern of the Metropolitan Police - top hat, tail coat and white duck trousers.

Officers had to wear their uniform at all times, whether on duty or not, although they only got paid for the days they actually performed duty. Each man was armed with a staff, and provided with a rattle to summon immediate assistance.

In 1855 the tail coat was replaced by a frock coat and by 1868 the top hat was replaced by a "Cox Comb" pattern helmet with a leather band. The first helmet plate worn with this head gear comprised the Arms of Brighton - the two dolpins, surmounted by a helmet and a star, within an oval garter bearing the wording "Brighton Police". The garter was enclosed in a laurel wreath and a Victorian crown topped the badge.

Originally painted black, the badge was produced in white metal when a new pattern helmet was introduced in the 1890s. The new helmet followed the military pattern with a ball top with a silver band, and with minor variations remained in use until 1968.

A horizontally striped duty band was worn on the left arm and continued in use up to the First World War. In 1933 a new helmet plate was introduced to replace the laurel wreath, The Brighton Arms appeared with an eight point star surmounted by the Kings Crown, and this pattern with change of crown in 1953, continued in use untiil 1968.

The year 1933 also saw the introduction of the famous white summer helmet which was worn on day duty between May and September, right up until 1939. It was later reintroduced between 1952 and 1968.

Open neck tunics were worn from the early 1950s although the close neck pattern continued to be worn on the night duty for some years. A black helmet plate and black ball top were worn on night duty helmets.


Recently a sixteen-year-old newsboy was stopped by a policeman one dark morning and told that his newspaper bag was obscuring the front lamp of his bicycle, the boy replied “If you want to make an issue out of it, do something about it. Don’t tell me to be a good boy”.

Subsequently at Haywards Heath Juvenile Court he was fined £3 for not displaying a plainly visible light.

The boy told the Magistrates:“The policeman was trying to adopt the friendly policeman attitude towards me. It was not his job to do that. If I committed an offence, it was his job to bring me here, which he has done."

Patrol-article-jan-1969-personally-speaking-commentary-on-walking-out-with-a-gangsterA WOMAN interviewed recently on B.B.C. television suggested that crime was respectable nowadays, and that it was a mark of status to go ’Out with gangsters.

This disturbing assertion followed a plea that the sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment imposed on Bruce Reynolds was bad because it would not help to reform him.

Of course, there have always been people ready to admire criminals, and to walk out with gangsters for instance, other criminals and other gangsters. But for a responsible person to suggest that these views are widely held by the general public is surely naive in the extreme. Nor can it become true in the future, even as crimes increase. For, as this happens, so will the number of victims also increase; and they certainly will not regard their assailants as respectable.

Do those who admire, or profess to admire, the bold­ness and organising ability of the major criminal ever give thought to his victim? The police certainly see the victim’s point of view, because we are on the victim’s side; and there must be many of us who welcome the help increasingly given by members of the public in the pursuit and capture of criminals.

Those members of the public who help us in this way are expressing, in practical fashion, their lack of respect for criminals, and, by implication at any rate, their sympathy with the victims.

We can only hope that they are not persuaded to withdraw their help, by preposterous assertions that “crime is respectable".

Patrol-article-July-1968-the-need-to-keep-in-touch-why-patrol-was-startedMessage from His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, Chairman of the Sussex Police Authority.

When we had five Police Forces in Sussex it was easy to communicate in the smaller areas, and for everybody in a Force to know what was going on.

Now, however, one Force covers the whole of Sussex, and the Chief Constable realises the difficulty members of the new Force must have in keeping in touch with their current and their old colleagues.

Then, too, there must be many Sussex people outside the Force who would welcome the opportunity of knowing what is going on.

This is why PATROL has been introduced and I recommend it to everyone, and wish it success.


Patrol-article-july-1968-personally-speaking-commentary-on-the-merging-of-the-five-borough-forces-into-the-sussex-constabularySOME of you may think the amalgamation has produced quite enough paper already, without adding another fortnightly ration. But this, I hope you will agree, is different. This is a newspaper, and like any other newspaper it is about people and what they are doing; it offers a panorama of what is happening in the force.

For, as the Chairman of the Sussex Police Authority, the Duke of Norfolk, puts it in his note of welcome, it’s not easy for any of us to know what’s going on in a force of this size. There are 3,220 of us (or would be, if the Home Office hadn’t restricted our strength to 3,039 during the present financial difficulties), and Rye is 75 miles from Chichester. Inevitably, our old boundaries have been broken down, and some old friends and colleagues have moved away, to make new friendships and meet new colleagues.

And so Patrol is an effort to bridge the distances we now must face, and accelerate the process of getting to know one another. It will take a lot of effort by a lot of people if it is to achieve its aim. But I am sure it will do this.

This first issue starts with the advantage of being able to cover what was a truly first- class expression of the amalgamation of our old forces - the police pageant and parade at Expo Sussex ’68. All the characteristics of the five former forces were in the line-up - even the lamented white helmets of Brighton. But then 1968, and the amalgamated Sussex Constabulary, took over; and very impressive they were.

But they were just the same men and women as before, doing the same job; and that’s the real point


It may assist the education of present-day policemen for them to learn how members of the Force went about the task of improving their professional minds more than half a century ago.

The opportunity for this comes from a rediscovered book which belonged to an ex-policeman and which was passed to the Public Relations Department recently.

The book’s title is “Self Education for the Police." It was compiled by H. Childs and was published by the Police Review Office.

This particular copy is described as the “Fourth and Revised Edition" but it gives no date of publication, either for this or any preceding edition. A mem­ber of the Police Review publishing staff remembered the book but was unable to provide a publication date.

But some of the questions and answers suggest that it dates back more than 50 years.

For instance, in Lesson V (the book contains, in fact, XXIV lessons) there is this question: What age must a person be before a publican can serve him with spirits, to be consumed on the premises? Also beer.

Beer at 13

Mercifully there is a section at the back with the answers, and the solution to this question is given as: Spirits - apparently 16 and over: beer - apparently 13 and over.

We have been used to a general legal minimum drinking age of 18 for a long time now, but the Legal Branch were able to throw some light on the matter.

Looking back through their records they found that the ages quoted in the book were those laid down by legislation in force from 1872 to 1923.

As this volume is described as the fourth and revised edition, indications are that this edition dates from about or before 1920, so that the first edition could have been published considerably earlier.

This is supported further by a question in Lesson 1 which says: “If you saw the driver of an omnibus working a horse in an unfit condition what steps would you take?"

The last horse bus in London made its final journey in October 1911 and horse buses will have remained in other parts of the country for only a few years more.

But if you had been a policeman in the early part of the century and found yourself dealing with an omnibus driver working an unfit horse the action you should have taken, according to the book is: “If not a serious case, prevent him (the driver) from working it (the horse) and make a full report of the case, giving a description of the horse and wound (if any). If serious, charge him."

Quite unhelpful is the answer to the question in Lesson VIII: “At what time must a Licensed Refreshment House close?" It simply says: “Same time as a public house."

Ill horse

The book gives examples of how reports should be written on a number of varying incidents. These include “Collision between an omnibus and hansom cab. The horse in the hansom cab is injured and afterwards has to be killed."

There is another on “Horse suddenly taken ill in the street" - which might be useful in these days of growing popularity in horse riding.

Yet another takes us back to the omnibus subject - setting out a report on a driver of an omnibus who fell from his seat and was injured due to the horses making an unexpected movement.

There is a series of arithmetical problems, many of them being tests for police constables seeking promotion to sergeant and for sergeants seeking promotion to inspector.

If you wanted to be a sergeant 50 years or so ago, you tried your hand at this sort of thing:

“Multiply £953612 14s. 9.5 d. by 69.”
“Reduce 5036125 three halfpences to half crowns.”
“Subtract 89387068 from 93265431."
And if you were a sergeant after inspector rank you met questions like this -
“After paying income tax on £600 I had £580 left: how much did I pay in the £?"
“Find the greatest common measure of 65 and 39, 84 and 105, 240 and 126." 
“Divide .0001 by 1000”


The book is considerably concerned with correct spelling and reproduces several lists of words, many of them prefixed by the advice that the most effectual way for adults to learn the spelling it sets is by writing the words as often as possible. 
With pens poised and pencils sharpened try this example of "Difficult words from examinations papers"

Beneficial, curious, curiosity, existence, statue, statute, quay, buoy, vehicle, stirred, diarrhoea, rendezvous, expense, immense, benefited, slaughter, develop, envelop, awe, awful.

Spring cart

Finally, for an example of one of those fully-written reports, let us examine this one, headed “P.C. injured on duty." It reads:

I beg to report that at … p.m. inst while on duty in . . . (street or road), parish of . . . I heard shouts of ‘Stop him!’ and saw a horse attached to a light spring cart, with a bicycle entangled in the near side wheel, being driven at a furious rate along the above road.

“I immediately called upon the driver to stop, and ran into the roadway and held up my hands with a view to stopping the horse; but the driver whipped the horse and urged it on. I then endeavoured to catch hold of the reins, and, in doing so was knocked down, the rear wheel of the cart passing over my left leg, thereby injuring the same. The horse was stopped by P.C..... (No) ... (name) .... when it was found that the driver (name) ... (age), of ... (address) was drunk, and that he had just previously collided with a bicycle belonging to ....(name).....(address), which had been left standing by the kerb in above thoroughfare, the owner of which machine had immediately pursued the cart, and cried out "Stop him!"

The driver was then taken into custody by P.C. (as above), and charged with being drunk and furiously driving to the common danger of the public thereby causing actual bodily harm to myself. I was subsequently seen by the Divisional Surgeon, who certified me to be suffering from severe bruises to left leg and directed me to be placed on the sick list. Name …. No….”

Driving under the influence is nothing new!

patrol-article-jan-1969-oh-to-be-a-policeman-poem-by-an-officer's-mumA ‘POLICEMAN’ is supposed to be Immune,
To the temptations of this Life,
And his character beyond reproach,
Like that of Caesar’s Wife. 
He must not faint at sight of blood,
Nor cringe from the bandit’s gun,
He must calm a yelling crowd,
And chase a prisoner on the run.
When, at the scene of accident,
Robbery, flood, or sudden fire.
He must, at all times, be efficient.
And he must never tire.
‘Angels’, with Ethereal Perfection,
Wear ‘halos’ of Heavenly Light,
But man is made of flesh and blood,
Doing his best, to put things right.
Please, don’t expect him to work miracles,
And, the whole world, convert.
A ‘Policeman’ is a Human Being, 
And ‘Halos’ sometimes hurt.

Kris, who joined in 1996 as a staff member shared this:

When I joined as a Clerk/Typist back in 1996 I was still using an OAS orange screen and would have to count my lines of typing to make sure they’d fit on one page.

Then I’d have to walk up to the printing room at the far end of the building and put in the coloured paper I needed for printing contracts and return to my office and send the document to print. If I was lucky someone else hadn’t sent something to print in the meantime. Usually though, I’d end up having a few journeys before a successful print out on the correct combination of papers!

Joining in an age before mobile media, video based learning and even email, it’s great to see the impact these advances have had on the working environment, on our working lives, and the service we can now provide to the public.

DURING the latter part of November last year, the wives, girl friends and other female personnel of Seaford Police Sub-Division, formed their own club, which they have named the “Blue Penny Club”. The early promise has been maintained and almost 50 members enjoy the various activities.

On January 20, members and friends gathered at Seaford’s Social Room, and were given a display of hairdressing by Kenneth of Preston Street, Brighton. The demonstration was part of the current health and beauty programme of the club. Six members, Mesdames Rummery, Cook, North, Allibone, De Lima and Miss Peirce, were prepared at Mr. Kenneth’s salon earlier in the day and were brushed out before the audience. Their daytime styles were then converted for evening, in some cases with the addition of a hair-piece. Mr. Kenneth was for three years a hairdresser to Miss World contenders.

The current programme of the “Blue Pennies”, which concludes in April, will feature a make-up demonstration. There is also a “Keep Fit” class which is running weekly. The next session will be concerned with local affairs.

Statistics at times can be both boring and misleading, indeed it is often said that they can be made to prove, or disprove, anything.

Looking at recent statistics relating to Force strength and establishments one is reminded that the Queen’s Peace is maintained by a very “thin red line": the establishment figure allows for one police officer to every five hundred and twenty-five members of the population.

While on first glance this could mean very little, does it not highlight how dependent we are in the Police Service on the continuing help, support and co-operation of society if law and order is to be maintained?

The enforcement of law and order has always been based on the overriding desire by society to voluntarily comply with what they consider to be right. Implicit in the acceptability of these principles is the support of the Police.

Naturally if that support becomes less effective, then the preservation of law and order becomes more difficult and one has only to recall the fairly recent industrial problems to appreciate this.

Nevertheless, for some time now there appears to have been an increasing tendency for society to be more critical of the Police, of our methods and our attitudes.

We in turn are critical at times of the lack of appreciation by society of our difficulties and of the lack of support and co-operation by some sections of the community.

We are quick to point out that a police officer can only act within the provision of the law, which, in the main is to protect members of the public against all types of aggression and at times to risk his life in so doing. 

He doesn’t require praise for this, but having been told by society to protect our way of life, he is surely entitled to hope society will itself share in the task.

So what, if anything, has gone wrong with the relationship between the Police and the community and why, as some people suggest, is that relationship less harmonious and therefore less effective than it used to be? Is it that we have not fully appreciated the changing attitudes of society? Could it be that the criticism stems from a desire to know “why,” and to ensure that our standards and traditions are maintained?

The Police Service forms part of the society it serves and must be prepared to adapt itself in a changing world. Not least in its considerations must be the changes in outlook of the men and women who make up the Service.

It has become a way of life for the younger generation to question “why.” Some of the older generation find this attitude irritating, others approve of the desire to question the validity of some aspects of life which have hitherto gone on unchallenged.

Misunderstanding and disharmony often stem from a lack of communication. We in the Service could, with advantage, take the initiative and make a concerted effort to restore our close relationship with the public and so regain their confidence.

Certainly the means of establishing contact between the Police and the public is not the exclusive prerogative of a small group of specialists at Headquarters. It is, as we all know, one of the very important functions of every police officer, irrespective of rank or length of service.

We must seize every opportunity, both on and off duty, through our associations with the Press, Schools, Universities, Parent Associations and other responsible organisations too numerous to mention, to freely and frankly discuss our mutual problems.

We should take the members of the public into our confidence and so encourage them to play their full part in affording us the support we seek.

Of course, one of the most helpful contributions would be the early approval of the Home Office to our request for an increase in staff for what I am sure we all agree to be, our “front rank public relations officers” — the men on the beat.

A Guide for Civilians in the Police Service.

Have you ever overheard a conversation between officers and not understood a word they’ve said? The police service offers a language alien to many.

PC Graham Wellspring, of Burgess Hill, has now created a guide to commonly used words, phrases and abbreviations for Mid-Sussex Sub Division.

Antecedents — person’s history, details and financial circumstances for information of court.

Black (RTA) — fatal accident.

Blue label — small form reporting absent driver of vehicle for an offence.

Breaker — burglar

Captain Flack — slang for fire brigade

Trumpton — also fire brigade.

Dabs — fingerprints.

Drum — slang for home address.

Gaff — also home address.

Factory — police station.

Flasher — flashing warning marker on Police National Computer.

In the bin — slang for in the cells.

Lift(ed) — arrest(ed).

Polac — accident involving a police vehicle in some way.

Proby — slang for probationer.

Seven day wonder — form HORT/1 giving driver chance to produce driving documents within seven days.

Spin — check out (house or car).

Vulcan — operation brought into use in event of prison over crowding and use of police cells or remand prisoners.

The Old Police Cells Museum is located in the basement of Brighton Town Hall and offers an educational and entertaining insight into the history of policing within Sussex.

It provides an opportunity to visit Brighton Borough main police station for the period 1830 to 1967 and learn about the murder of Chief Constable Henry Solomon in 1844 by a prisoner. See some of the old cells with their graffiti from the Mods and Rockers era, the policeman's wash room and uniform store areas, police memorabilia and artefacts.

The Museum also houses a unique collection of truncheons and tipstaffs, one of the largest in the country. This collection was made by Alderman Caffyn throughout his lifetime and is on permanent loan to the Museum.