History of Hastings Police 1836-1967
Research and drafting undertaken by Mr Charles banks, a former Inspector of the Force 1967
In view of the fact that war with Germany seemed inevitable the Chief Constable intensified A.R.P. training, with an A.R.P. Control and Police Headquarters being duplicated in case the main building was put out of action. The Special Constabulary was reorganised, with a Mobile Reserve, and its members were provided with uniform for the first time.
On 1st January. 1939 the first civilian staff – a shorthand-typist and two telephone operators – were appointed.
A.R.P. exercises under “Black-Out” conditions were organised and all the Services that participated in these displayed most satisfying efficiency.
Thus, when War was declared in the September, the A.R.P. organisation in Hastings was well trained and prepared to meet the demands caused by enemy action.
The years 1939 to 1955
Members of the Regular Force. the Police War Reserve and the Special Constabulary. share and take credit for their devotion to duty and loyalty. which enabled the Force to cope with all the problems. danger and difficulties which were encountered during the momentous war years.
After the Fall of France In 1940 the evacuation of the civilian population, particularly the aged, women. children, and persons regarded as “non-essential”, was quickly organised and from a figure of about 65.000 the number of residents was reduced to about 10,000. The town suffered its first bombing raid on 26th July, 1940, and thereafter was subject to frequent “tip and run” raids and the flying bombs. The last flying bomb incident occured in Hastings on 8th August, 1944. During the War the Borough was subjected to 85 enemy air attacks of various kinds, a total of 550 H.E. bombs, 14 small bombs of a special type, and 27 unexploded bombs were accounted for. In addition twelve oil Incendiary bombs, about 750 small Incendiaries, and 15 flying bombs fell on the town. During these attacks 154 people were killed, 260 were injured and detained in hospital, and 439 were slightly injured, 463 houses or buildings were demolished, and 14,818 properties were damaged.
At the outbreak of the War there were six Army Reservists serving in the Force and they were recalled to the Colours on 1st December, 1939. All these men came safely through the conflict.
Many of the younger members of the Force served in H.M. Forces. and all returned except P.c. Roy Baker. who joined the R.A.F., became a Pilot Officer/Observer. and was killed in 1944 with all his crew over France.
Lt. Col. Angus Gordon Cargill, B.E.M., becomes Chief Constable
When Mr. J. Bell resigned his appointment in 1942 to become Chief Constable of Manchester City Police. Inspector A. G. Cargill of the Liverpool City Police was appointed on 27th April, 1942, to become Chief Constable of Hastings. Mr. Cargill’s services in connection with Air Raid Precautions duties in Liverpool were recognised by the award of the British Empire Medal.
The first “Sussex Police Force”
From the 1st April. 1943, to 31st March, 1947, all the Police Forces in Sussex were merged to form the “Sussex Police Force”. The reason for this amalgamation was primarily for improving Military / Police co-ordination in connection with the planned landings to be mounted by the Allies on the Continent. Hastings became the Headquarters of No. 2 District of the new Police Force, and Mr. Cargill became its Assistant Chief Constable. The Headquarters of the amalgamated Force was located at Haywards Heath, and Major (later Sir) John Ferguson, a Deputy Assistant Commissioner at New Scotland Yard, was appointed the first Chief Constable.
In January 1944. Mr. Cargill enlisted in H.M. Army and served on the Staff of the Civil Affairs Organisation in France and Germany with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In September 1946, he resumed duty as an Assistant Chief Constable in the Sussex Police Force. When the Hastings Borough Police Force regained its autonomy in 1947, he resumed his Office as Chief Constable. He worked untiringly to bring the Force up to the highest standard of efficiency, was instrumental in persuading the Police Authority to embark on a Police housing programme, and in spite of all the severe financial restrictions and difficulties he was able to prevail upon them to provide, as a temporary expedient, better’ Head- quarters accommodation at Nos. 4/5 Robertson Terrace. Owing to ill health he was obliged to resign in September. 1954, and died in 1963.
From the time that Lt. Col. Cargill retired until the appointment of a new Chief Constable in February. 1955. the Force was in the capable command of the Superintendent and Deputy Chief Con-stable. Mr. George Sheppard.