Chief Constable's Report for 1933.
The Mayor: – Councillor Miss Margaret Hardy M.B.E. J.P.
Chief Constable: – Captain W. Hutchinson.
The Report commences: -You’re Worship and Gentlemen,
I have the honour to submit for your consideration a Report on the work administration of the police force, together with criminal and miscellaneous statistics, for the year ending 31st December 1933.
The authorised strength of the Force is currently 213 officers. Of those we have one Superintendent, 8 Inspectors, 24 sergeants and 179 Constables. These include the CID officers. Twelve constables were appointed on probation, seven other constables resigned, one on pension on account of ill health and three transferred to other Police Forces.
The Annual Inspection of the Force was held on the 18th August, by major-General Sir Llewellyn Atcherley, C.M.G. C.V.O. His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary.
The development of the Town by building operations on the outskirts of the town continues to present a difficult and ever increasing problem with regard to the Police supervision of the town.
Since the extension of the Borough was announced, extensive developments and building work have taken place in a number of areas. These include parts of Patcham. Moulescombe, Rottingdean and Whitehawk and this building work continues.
This subject was dealt with at some length by my predecessor in his last annual report, and he then emphasised the need for these districts receiving extra police attention. Although a number of constables were released from their traffic duties by the erection of automatic traffic light signals, these have been absorbed by the creation of a wireless section of three officers, and increased supervision being necessary on the sea front during the height of the summer season.
During the summer season of last year it was necessary to make use of the services of the Special Constabulary, in order to give the outlying districts adequate police protection. This arrangement cannot go on indefinitely, and it will be necessary to have the Force brought up to a number which will form a proper working strength.
Pocket Wireless: –
My predecessor, (Mr. C. Griffin.) was very keenly interested in perfecting a scheme for providing pocket wireless sets for the Police, and after carrying out experiments over a lengthy period he achieved such a standard of success that he decided to introduce their use into this Force.
He may justly claim to be the pioneer of Police Pocket Wireless, because it can, I believe, be rightly said that Brighton Borough Police was the first Police Force in the World to have this system.
Its adoption received kindly encouragement, both from the Home Office and your Committee. Its inauguration was watched with great interest throughout the Police world.
A broadcast transmitter was erected at the top of The Town hall, and 30 pocket sets were distributed to the Uniform Patrols, detective staff and Motor vehicle patrols, the system commenced on the 14th September 1933 and since the 1st of December I have keenly interested myself in the development and the working of the system.
(A full report by David on the pocket wireless can be found under the title Pocket Wireless in the Local Historians category)
Crime and Criminal Investigation:
The total number of persons proceeded against indictable offences was 347, compared with 396 for the previous year. There were some trends whereby certain offences increased but also some other offences decreased this year.
The increases included those offences for False Pretences, this offence increased from 85 in 1932 to 130 cases this year. Another increase was for housebreaking from 39 cases up to 59. This is a worrying trend. Amongst the decreases were shopbreaking, down from 32 to 21 and embezzlement down from 18 to 14.
One burglar case was brought to my notice in which a tenant of a house had locked all the intervening doors. The result was that although a man did manage to break in his efforts went unrewarded because; to have broken open these doors would have awakened the sleeping household.
During the year a total of 3,479 lock-up shops and business properties were registered at the police office and given special attention at night time and during the hours the shops and business properties were unoccupied. Out of that total it was found that 1,894 were found by the patrolling constable to be insecure.
Private residences to the number of 829, making an aggregate number of 18,436 days were also placed under special supervision by the occupiers during temporary absence for holidays etc.
Non-payment of fines etc.
Out of 1,780 offenders who were fined for various offences through the year, 54 persons failed to pay their fines. Therefore these persons were committed to prison in default of the payment of their fines. Another 10 persons were arrested by other police forces and then committed to various prisons. 50 of these cases were fined in respect of non-indictable offences.
Under the heading ‘Quasi-criminal offences there were 161 persons dealt with by the Justices for wife-maintenance, separation orders and bastardy orders. These were dealt with by way of summons after the complaint was received.
During the year, 98 crimes committed by children and young persons came to the notice of the Police. This is an increase of 40 on the figure for the previous year. There was also an increase in the number of Juveniles charged with crime, the figures being 76, as compared with 63 in 1932.
The number of Juvenile offenders dealt with by the Juvenile Court shows a decrease of some 16persons on the figure for the previous year. Some examples are now given here: –
Simple Larceny (stealing) up by 15 cases.
Larceny Servant was up by 3 cases.
However, there were some decreases like Road traffic offences dropped from 30 to 13. While there was also a decrease in begging, down from 20 to 10 cases.
Of the 120 children and young persons who were proceeded against in 1933, 71 boys and 9 girls were under the age of 14. There were also 36 boys and 4 girls aged between 14 years but under 16 years.
Juvenile Detention Homes.
During the year 24 boys under the age of 14 and 12 young male persons were received on apprehension or remand at the Remand Home for Boys, Ditchling Road, including one boy from Hove Borough and seven from West Sussex petty Sessional district. Five girls were similarly received into the Church Army Home, Finsbury Road, where a bed is revered for the purpose, by arrangement with the Church Army (Rescue and Prevention.) Homes.
There was a decrease of 3 persons who were fatally injured on the streets. It is pleasing to note that, as far as the drivers of the vehicles involved in the fatal accidents were concerned, the verdict at the various inquests was either ‘Accidental Death’ or ‘Death by Misadventure,’ and in only 2 cases was the driver of the vehicle concerned was not exonerated from blame. However, there were still 19 fatal accidents in the town.
Three of these accidents involved pedal cycles; these occurred in De-Montfort Road, Ditchling Road and Lewes Road. Another three involved motor cycles; these occurred on the coast road at Roedean, another at London Road at Waterhall, while the third one in Marine Parade; and one was involved by a steam roller. This was in York Place.
The waiting motor car causes a good deal more trouble than moving traffic and the obstruction caused in our main shopping thoroughfares calls for much attention on the part of the police. At times the position becomes so acute that they have difficulty in dealing with it. Many motorists are reluctant to use a car park, and the last thing they think of doing is to make good use of a garage.
With a little more consideration shown by the shopping motorist for other road users and business people would make matters much easier for everyone.
Twelve members of the Force, which includes one sergeant and eleven constables, are available for mounted duties when required. Two constables were regularly employed on patrol duties during the summer months and one constable during the winter months. Additional members of the mounted department performed duties at the three race meetings as well as at Lewes racecourse, and on a number of special occasions during the year.
Lost and found Property.
During the year personal enquiries for Lost property numbered 3,214, a decrease of 178 on the previous year… Postal enquiries of a similar nature was 629, this being an increase of 54. The property left in taxi cabs numbered 207; this was also a decrease, in fact a decrease of some 31 items.
There was an increase of articles being found on the Brighton streets. The total number found was 3,440 which was an increase of 270 over the previous year. Of this number, 1,320 items were claimed by their owners which was 38%. The property that was found in the taxi cabs 99 articles or 47% were restored to their owners. The total of all property found a total of 1,419 articles were returned to their rightful owners. (39%)
The rewards collected under the bye-laws for the drivers of taxi-cabs amounted to £10/18/6, an increase of £1/2/0. The total rewards paid to other honest finders amounted to £29/11/6d. This was a decrease of £14/0/6d.
Amongst the property that was handed in included two diamond rings, together worth £400, theses were found in May in a sewer. These rings were subsequently returned to their owner.
The Police Matrons.
The Police Matrons, one of whom is always available to attend to women who are brought to the Police Station either on apprehension or found to be destitute etc. they also attend to the female witnesses. They had charge of 168 women in custody during the past year. 38 of these were escorted to prison on remand or committal after conviction. Seven women were remanded by the Justices for one day, one for two days and in such cases they were confined to the Police cells under the charge of the Matron on duty. I addition to this, 54 women and girls were sheltered for varying periods in the care of the Matron, this was before being taken to the Infirmary, Mental hospital, girls shelter and other Institutions. On top of this the matrons looked after 298 children who were temporarily sheltered, having been lost by their parents or guardians and subsequently restored to their friends, parents and guardians.
There were 440 dogs, a decrease of 12 that were seized by the police when being found straying on the highway. 180 of these were restored to their owners. 260 of these dogs were taken to the Sussex Home for lost dogs in Robertson Road, Preston.
The Special Constabulary
The strength of the three Divisions of the Special Constabulary has now risen to 276, and members rendered valuable assistance to the Regular Force on the occasion of the Race Meetings, also while patrolling three supplementary beats during the period from the 1st May until the 31st August.
There were 247 Pedlars Certificates issued.
The total number of entries in the charge book were 1, 050.
The number of letters received at the Chief Office were 18,039.
The number of letters sent out amounted to 27,796.
Telephone calls made (Outward and trunk calls) were 17,524.
The Police Box System.
During the year five additional Police Boxes were erected in the outlying parts of the town, including Whitehawk, Ladies Mile, and Bevendean, where extensive building operations are being carried out. The total number of Police Boxes is now 43. Very little use is made of the telephones in the Police Boxes, which are placed there for the benefit of the public. I do not think it is realised by the public that these give instant communication direct to the police headquarters and without charge.
There were 1,232 days lost through sickness including 38 as a result of injuries whilst on duty. The figures for the previous year were 1,496 days. These included 188 days lost whilst on duty.
Fifteen members of the Force were awarded a Commendation, either by your Committee, the Borough Coroner, the Justices or the Chief Constable for Meritorious Conduct, diligence in arresting or detecting thieves etc. Four of these were for arresting offenders who were wanted at Worthing, Eastbourne, Hove and Horsham repetitively, while another was for the arrest of a bag snatcher in Hove.
The usual course of lectures on Police Law and practice for members of the Force has been conducted at the Parade Room at Preston Circus. Nine Probationer Constables have received instruction at the Birmingham City Police Training School.
Six members have passed the Post Office test in Morse Code.
Many letters have been received by the Chief Constables of other Police Forces, also from townspeople and visitors alike expressing their appreciation for the services given to them from members of the Force.
I would just like to add that the conduct of the Force has been exemplary.
This report is signed by Captain Hutchinson, Chief Constable.