East Sussex Police Force 1840-1967
Research and preparation carried out by Chief Inspector K. Angel
Many innovations were introduced during the war years. For quite a period, service respirators were carried, all members being fully trained in air raid precaution duties and issued with protective clothing. Pigeons were trained for carrying despatches in the event of a break down in communications To supplement the strength of the Constabulary which was depleted by many regular officers enlisting in the Armed Forces, retired Police Officers were enrolled in the East Sussex Police Reserve; civilians were employed in the Police War Reserve and the Womens Auxiliary Police Corps. The establishment of the Special Constabulary was considerably increased and rendered great service during 1939/45.
In 1943 all the Police Forces in Sussex were amalgamated and known as the “Sussex Police Force”, under the command of Major John Ferguson (later Major Sir John Ferguson. C.B.E.,D.L., Chief Constable of Kent). When they reverted in 1947, the Hove Borough Police Force became a Division of East Sussex.
Since the last war, vast strides have been made to improve the efficiency of the Force, in particular during the past few years. For instance, two-way speech radio has now reached the peak, where, in addition to nearly all vehicles being issued with such equipment, many personal radio sets have been issued to foot patrols; Communications have been advanced to include radio, telephone land line and teleprinter connection to all sub-Divisional stations; No civilians were employed prior to the War and today there are two hundred; the Police Women’s strength has increased from one to forty; Traffic Wardens are now employed in most towns throughout the County; Rural beats have all been mechanised; the negotiating machinery of the Police Federation has been improved immeasurably; new Police Stations have been erected at Hove, East Grinstead and Rye. and the experimental use of helicopters for police work has been carried out. There are numerous other innovations that could be enlarged upon if only space would permit.
Specialisation has required the introduction of Departments to give full time attention to the demands of a modern police service. Such Departments include Criminal Investigation; Crime Prevention; Traffic and Communications; Photographic; Printing; Scenes of Crime; Dogs; Drugs; Special Branch; Aliens; Crime Statistics; Training; Recruiting; Public Relations; Policewomen; Firearms; Vehicle Investigation and Administration. dealing with Welfare. Accommodation, Buildings, Clothing and Stationery. etc.
In the more recent years the authorised establishment of the Force has been increased considerably and now totals 785. They are responsible for policing 494,583 acres, within which a population of over 400,000 persons reside. The present Headquarters of the Force is at Malling House, Lewes, which has been occupied since 1948.
The old Headquarters at West Street, Lewes, was incorporated into the Lewes Divisional Police Station. On the 1st January, 1968. Malling House will become the Headquarters of the new Sussex Constabulary. The four Divisional Headquarters are sited at East Grinstead, Lewes, Bexhill and Hove. Sub-Divisional Stations are located at East Grinstead, Uckfield, Crowborough, Lewes, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Newhaven, Seaford. Bexhill, Hailsham. Battle and Rye.
There are also Country Section or Rural Stations at Hartfield, Forest Row. West Hoathly, Turners Hill. Copthorne, Heathfield, Maynards Green, Cross-in-Hand, Buxted, Nutley, Danehill, Wadhurst, Frant, Rotherfield, Mayfield, Eridge, Groombridge, Barcombe, Chailey, Rodmell, Ringmer, Plumpton. Peacehaven. Balcombe. Handcross, Horsted Keynes. Wivelsfield. Hurstpierpoint. Albourne, Ninfield, Staplecross. Burwash, Netherfield, Sedlescombe. Ticehurst. Hurst Green, Robertsbridge. Chiddingly. Windmill Hill. Polegate-WilJingdon. Selmeston, Eastdean, Pevensey Bay, Westham, Beckley, Northiam, Peasmarsh, Brede, Camber, Fairlight. Icklesham, and Winchelsea.