History of the Brighton Police 1838-1967

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Police Dog section 1967
Copyright County Borough of Brighton Police
New Headquarters 1965
Copyright County Borough of Brighton Police
Information Room 1967
Copyright County Borough of Brighton Police
Mr Henry Solomon
Sir William Gentle
Captain W J Hutchinson
Mr C Ridge
Mr A E Rowsell
Mr W T Cavey

Inspector Gerald W Baines of the Brighton Police compiled this history

Captain Hutchinson was succeeded by Mr C. F. W. Ridge on 1 July 1956. In 1957 Mr Ridge and two members of the Brighton CID were arrested an subsequently appeared at the Old Bailey, charged with conspiracy. The tw CID officers were sentenced to a term of imprisonment and Mr Ridge lef the force.

On 28 October 1957 Mr A. E. Rowsell.oss, MM, Chief Constable of Exeter,was appointed acting Chief Constable of Brighton, and he was appointed Chief Constable of the force on II July 1958. During his six years in office the force expanded from a total of 286 in 1957 to 328 in 1963 and approval was obtained for the long-awaited new headquarters for the force.

In 1959 a sub-divisional station was opened at Rottingdean and in 1963 parking meters were introduced into the town and traffic wardens commenced duty.

On 8 October 1963 Mr Rowsell was succeeded by Mr W. T. Cavey, who was to be the thirteenth and last Chief Constable of the force. The following year saw a further improvement in working hours with the introduction of a 42-hour week, and further steps to combat crime when a regional crime squad was based at Brighton.

New headquarters

The new headquarters was completed in 1965 and was opened on 27 September by the Rt Honourable Sir Frank Soskice, QC, MP, Secretary of State for the Home Department. The following year the Sussex Fingerprint Bureau was established at the new headquarters and history again repeated itself when personal radios were obtained and issued to all patrolling officers.

1967 is the last year of the history of the Brighton Police.

The force is now housed in one of the finest headquarters in the country, with modern offices, a well-equipped information room, a gymnasium and a fin assembly hall. The lower floor contains an up-to-date workshop and facilities for the fleet of 45 vehicles, while the self-contained detention block has twelve male cells, four female cells, a charge room, photographic facilities, doctor’s surgery, gaolers’ rooms and interview rooms. The underground emergency control room fulfils a peacetime function as a rifle range, while the top floor contains an excellent canteen and social club. The photographic department has three dark rooms and the latest printing, photographic and reproduction equipment.

The whole force operates from this headquarters and facilities are provided for the Special Constabulary. The strength of the force has increased from the original 31 to 424 and the CID now totals 47. Officers are employed full-time in specialist tasks such as fingerprints, scenes of crime, photography, crime prevention, road safety, prosecutions and training, and they are equipped with excellent equipment and facilities to carry out their duties.

Some measure of the increased responsibilities of the force can be obtained from the fact that over the past ten years the number of crimes has increased from 1,924 to 5,242; the number of persons prosecuted for indictable offences from 698 to 1,518 and for non-indictable offences from 3,709 to 14,141; and some measure of the calibre of the force can be obtained from the following awards to members of the force over the same period:

Athletic Association

Athletic Association has active sections in practically every type of sport and recreation, including football, cricket, tennis, angling, badminton basketball, bowling, sailing, rugby, swimming and life saving. The rifle club deserves special mention for since 1950 its members have won every team championship open to police competitors in the United Kingdom on at least one occasion.


In 1966 the Home Secretary announced the Government’s plans for amalgamation of police forces. These plans include the amalgamation of the five forces in Sussex into one combined force, and the Brighton County Borough Police will therefore cease to exist as a separate entity from I January 1968. As the 130 years’ history of the force comes to an end, there is inevitably a certain measure of regret and nostalgia at the loss of identity of a proud force, but mixed with these sentiments is a sense of hope and enthusiasm for a bright future in the wider horizons of the new Sussex Police Force.

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