The Constable's Staff.
Thomas Hayter Chase aged 30 years was the next Chief Constable after Henry Solomon being appointed in 1844. It is clear that Hayter had a very chequered career as the Chief Officer and some may say that he wasn’t the ideal person to take over the reigns of the Brighton Police Force. He was, at this time the Chief Constable of the Isle of Wight.
There were 8 senior policemen who applied to be Brighton’s next Chief Constable and at the second vote it was Chase who was selected.
Two years after being selected he applied for a pay rise but the request was turned down by the Commissioners. Then in June 1850 he applied once again for a pay rise but that was rejected and no increase had been voted by August 1851.
In the same year Chase ran into trouble for the first time. A respectable citizen named John Poune was in possession of a Constable’s staff. (It is the one currently on display at the Old Cells Police Museum) The Staff had been given to him by Thomas Palmer in 1829 as a friendly present.
Chase met John Poune in the street, near the Town Hall while he was carrying the staff. Chase quickly formed the impression that Poune had stolen the staff from one of the town’s officers. Chase stopped Poune and ordered him to hand the staff over to him. An argument broke out, as Chase ordered him to hand over the Staff on the threat of being arrested for theft. Poune, by this time was seething mad with the Chief Constable and flatly refused to hand it over to Chase; a struggle broke out and eventually Chase wrenched the staff from Poune’s hand, and arrested him.
Poune made an official complaint against Chase to the Town’s Commissioners at the Town Hall, against Chase and was able to prove the staff was his property and where he had got it from.
The Commissioners recorded that the conduct of Chase in wrestling the staff from Poune was ‘unjustifiable’ and Chase was made to return the staff and make a public apology to Poune.
This ‘Public apology was done by Chase as he stood on the steps outside the Town Hall, on the north side. This must have been a very humiliating experience, especially as quite a large crowd had gathered there to watch and listen.
Chase was involved in several different wrongful incidents and was eventually dismissed by the Town Commissioners from his Chief Officer’s job in 1853.