Sussex Police

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Sussex Police
Logo of the Sussex Police
Agency overview
Formed 1 January, 1968
Employees 5,477[1]
Volunteers 199[1]
Annual budget £237.1 million[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Police area of East Sussex, West Sussex, City of Brighton and Hove in the country of England, UK
England Police Forces (Sussex).svg
Map of Sussex Police area
Size 3,783 km²
Population 1.6 million
Legal jurisdiction England & Wales
Constituting instrument Police Act 1996
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Lewes, East Sussex
Constables 2,847 (of which 350 are special constables)[2]
Police Community Support Officers 372[1]
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible Katy Bourne (C)
Agency executive Giles York, Chief Constable
Divisions 3
Stations 33
* Police area agency: Prescribed geographic area in the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

Sussex Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the county of Sussex in southern England (which for administrative purposes is split into East Sussex, West Sussex and the city of Brighton and Hove). Its headquarters is in Lewes, East Sussex.[3]


Policing in the county can be traced back to the first force established in Brighton in 1830. A few years later on 13 March 1844 Chief Constable Henry Solomon was murdered in his office by a prisoner he was interviewing. He is believed to be the only chief officer to have suffered such a fate. Prior to 1830 local watchmen were appointed to provide some degree of law enforcement in the area. In 1812, there were some 12 watchmen who were responsible for the town. By 1814 the number had grown to 28 and at this time the title of constable was in use for them. By 1868 the force had grown to 100 officers and helmets replaced top hats.

In 1918 the first woman was appointed as a police officer in this force and by 1930 it had grown to 216 officers.[citation needed] Brighton Police were the first force to introduce police radios on 14 September 1933. Forces were also established for the counties of East Sussex and West Sussex, as well as separate forces in the boroughs of Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings. These forces amalgamated temporarily during the Second World War, from 1943 until 1947, but then policing reverted to the old system for another two decades.

Brighton Borough Police was abolished under the Police Act 1964 and became a part of Sussex Constabulary with Eastbourne Borough Police, Hastings Borough Police, West Sussex Constabulary and East West Sussex Constabulary. Under the same act, the amalgamated forces became Sussex Police, with this finally taking place on 1 January 1968.[4]

Chief Constables of Brighton Police

  • Henry Solomon appointed 18 May 1838
  • Thomas Hayter Chase appointed 22 May 1844
  • George White appointed 21 December 1853
  • Owen Crowhurst appointed 7 December 1876
  • Isaiah Barnden appointed 8 August 1877
  • James Terry appointed 6 April 1881
  • Thomas Carter appointed 27 January 1894
  • Sir William Gentle appointed 26 September 1901
  • Charles Griffin appointed 5 June 1920
  • William James Hutchinson appointed 1 December 1933
  • Charles Field Williams Ridge appointed 1 July 1956
  • Albert Edgar Rowsell appointed 28 October 1957
  • William Thomas Cavey appointed 8 October 1963[5]


Sussex Police is commanded by Chief Constable Giles York.[6] The remainder of the command team consists of Deputy Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry, and Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith. Also forming part of the command team are the Director of Human Resources and the Director of Finance although both of these roles are filled by civilian members of staff.[7]

The force consists of three divisions, each being led by a Chief Superintendent. As at April 2013 West Sussex was led by Chief Superintendent Martin Walker, East Sussex by Chief Superintendent Neil Honnor and Brighton & Hove by Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp. Divisions are sub-divided into districts, each led by a Chief Inspector, providing a local identity for policing. These districts are Chichester, Arun, Horsham, Adur & Worthing, Gatwick, Crawley, Mid Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Wealden, Lewes, Eastbourne, Rother and Hastings.

Sussex Police are also responsible for Gatwick Airport under the command of Superintendent Brian Bracher.

Districts are further divided into Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs), each led by an Inspector. The NPTs are responsible for the bulk of the community work undertaken in an area, and look to deal with long term local issues including Anti-Social Behaviour. Their role stems from the traditional view of 'bobbies on the beat' with Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) providing a high visibility profile on the street, albeit with limited policing powers. Special Constables may also be attached to NPTs, and due to Budget Cuts this is becoming increasingly common.

Police response is covered by Neighborhood Response Teams (NRT) operating from a number of "hub" stations across the area and providing the initial response to most emergency and prompt attendance calls. These teams are led locally by a sergeant and overall they are managed by an Inspector. These teams work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Secondary investigation of crime not dealt with by specialist teams - for example CID - is managed by Response Investigation Teams (RIT) who work closely with the NRT.

Sussex Police employee numbers:
2007/08[8] 2008/09[9] 2009/10[10] 2010/11[11] 2011/12[12]
Police Officers 3,075 3,196 3,213 3,102 2,959
Special Constables 199 216 240 293 348
PCSOs 372 399 377 351 335
Police Staff 1,974 2,080 2,139 1,949 1,881

Police and Crime Commissioner

Oversight of Sussex Police was provided by Sussex Police Authority until November 2012, when this role was taken over by a Police and Crime Commissioner following the first elections. Katy Bourne was elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex Police on 15 November 2012, with a majority of 24,426.

The police and crime commissioner is scrutinised by the Sussex Police and Crime Panel, made up of elected councillors from the local authorities in the police area.

Specialist units

Air Support Unit

Sussex Police used to operate an MD-902 helicopter, callsign Hotel 900 jointly with the South East Coast Ambulance Service, providing both policing and emergency medical support to Sussex and beyond. This helicopter has now been transferred to the National Police Air Service (NPAS) and is currently based at Redhill Aerodrome, covering the South East region with the callsign NPAS15.


Sussex Police have a dedicated Counter-Terrorist Intelligence Unit (CTIU) which works alongside the rest of the force in protecting and reassuring the public, and reducing the risk from terrorism. The Unit engages with communities, local authorities, higher education and universities and other local bodies, in order to prevent violent extremism. The Unit also offers specialist protective security advice to locations deemed to be at a greater risk from terrorism.

CTIU are involved in the disruption and detection of terrorist activity and have close links between local police and the communities they serve. They also work at ports and airports alongside UK Visas and Immigration.[13]

Dog Unit

Police dogs and their handlers are huge assets to the Force and hold a vitally important role in safeguarding the whole of Sussex. General purpose dogs are one of the most affective means for tracking, chasing and detaining suspects, searching for stolen property and missing people, and assisting public order units with crowd control. Specialist search dogs are used for drug, cash and weapon recovery, for detecting explosives and for following the scent of a specific person. Dog handlers are also trained to deal with dangerous dogs.[14]

Emergency & Operations Planning

The Emergency and Planning Team provides Sussex Police with the ability to plan for major incidents, natural disasters and large policing operations that occur throughout the communities of Sussex. The team delivers specialist equipment to front line officers, staff for operations and tactical advice to Police commanders, this helps to deliver the best service possible to the public during critical times. The team also has responsibilities with regards to business continuity, local resilience partnership working and contingency planning.[14]

Roads Policing Unit (RPU)

The Road Policing Unit (RPU) cover the whole force from four bases. The primary aims of RPU are to deny criminals the use of the road, tackle anti-social driving such as mobile phone use and drink-driving and to bring down the number of KSI (killed and seriously injured) casualties on the roads of Sussex (for figures on the number of casualties, see table at end of page). Vehicles in use include fully marked BMW 530d Touring estates and Landrover Discovery. Ford Galaxys are used by Forensic Collision Investigation teams - these are based at Shoreham Police Station. They also use a number of unmarked vehicles of various types fitted with covert warning equipment.

Sussex Police BMW 530d

Specialist Search Unit (SSU)

Specialist Search Unit officers search where other police officers cannot go. They are trained to search in demanding environments that need specialist equipment, such as underwater (mostly inland waters), at height, in flooded areas as in the Lewes floods in 2000, and confined spaces. The team are experts in searching for missing people, stolen property, drugs, weapons and firearms, and they are also licensed to find and identify improvised explosive devices. A police boat is used by the unit to undertake marine patrols along the Sussex coastline and during diving operations.[14]

Tactical Firearms Unit (TFU)

Firearms officers are deployed to incidents involving the use of firearms or other lethal weapons either on a spontaneous or pre-planned basis. They are able to be deployed across all of Sussex, dealing with high priority crime such as drugs, burglary and violent crime. All tactical firearms (TFU) officers are trained in conflict resolution methods, meaning every incident is resolved using the minimum amount of force necessary. Non-lethal methods used by officers include the Baton Gun for firing rubber bullets and the Taser stun-gun. Officers are rigorously trained in threat assessment and perception, ready to make split-second decisions to protect the public against threats of violence officers are required to complete a two-year probationary period as firearms officers at Gatwick Airport after completing initial training.[14]

Sussex Police Authority

Sussex Police Authority had 9 councillors (drawn from the three councils), 3 justices of the peace, and 5 independent members. In November 2012, elections were held for the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex who will took office on 22 November 2012. At that point the Police Authority ceased to exist.[15]

Old Police Cells Museum

Opened on 4 May 2005 by Councillor Pat Drake, the Mayor of Brighton & Hove, the museum is located in the basement of Brighton Town Hall and offers an educational and entertaining insight into the history of policing within Sussex.

It provides an opportunity to visit Brighton Borough main police station for the period 1830 to 1967 and learn about the murder of Chief Constable Henry Solomon in 1844 by a prisoner. It's possible to view the old cells with their graffiti from the Mods and Rockers era, the policeman's wash room and uniform store areas, police memorabilia and artifacts. The Museum also houses a unique collection of truncheons and tipstaffs, one of the largest in the country. This collection was made by Alderman Caffyn throughout his lifetime and is on permanent loan to the Museum from the Sussex Police Authority.[14]

Police Cadets

Sussex Police, like many other forces in the UK, have Police Cadets. There are around 200 operational Cadets in Sussex Police. Cadets within the VCC (Volunteer Cadet Corps) often have duties at Police Stations across Sussex. They have a similar uniform to non-operational Police Officers and Police staff which consists of:

Standard issue white shirt and black tie, black trousers. Epaulette saying "CADET" and a visible rank designation (normally chevrons). Standard issue police cap with a Blue Band and Sussex Police crest saying 'SUSSEX VCC'

Cadets learn many police skills as well as a student officer syllabus in preparation for joining as an officer. They also assist at public events and displays.

Future Plans

Proposals were made by the Home Secretary on 20 March 2006 to merge the force with Surrey Police forming a single strategic police force for Sussex and Surrey.[16] Opposed by both Sussex Police and Surrey Police, the plans were effectively abandoned by the Home Office in July 2006.[17]

In a report published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in July 2011,[18] the impact on the number of police officers and staff partly due to the reduction to Sussex Police's budget following the comprehensive spending review is as follows:

Police officers Police staff PCSOs Total
31 March 2010 (actual) 3,213 2,155 377 5,745
31 March 2015 (proposed) 2,713 1,605 377 4,695

In common with other UK forces, Sussex is being forced to save 20% from its budget by 2015. Whilst efforts are being made to minimise the impact of these cuts, inevitably there have been, and continue to be reductions in the numbers of warranted officers and police staff. In September 2010, Chief Constable Martin Richards announced plans to cut up to 1,050 police officers and staff over the following five years, saying that job cuts were inevitable as the force faced estimated budget cuts of £52m by 2015.It was estimated that about 500 of the affected jobs would be police officers.[19]

On 10 May 2012, off-duty officers from Sussex police joined an estimated 30,000 others from around the UK to protest at the cutbacks in a march through London.[20]

Sussex Police People

In November 2011 Sussex Police became the first force worldwide to live stream unedited footage during a 24-hour period.[21]

Sussex Police Mobile App

Published in March 2012 Sussex Police became the first force in the UK to launch a mobile based app for reporting crime.[22]

Sussex Police Roll of Honour

A list of officers of Sussex Police and its predecessors who died on duty (in progress) is provide by the national police charity, the Police Roll of Honour Trust.[23]

Name Rank Age Force Date of death Circumstances
William James Avis, DCM Sgt 47 West Sussex Constabulary 26 February 1942 Shot.
Arthur Walls Insp 44 Eastbourne Borough Police 9 October 1912 Shot.
Jeffrey Barry James Tooley PC 26 Sussex Police 24 April 1999 Fatally injured by a speeding van, which failed to stop at a road check.
Henry Solomon CC 50 Brighton Borough Police 14 March 1844 Bludgeoned with poker.
Thomas Rowles PC 47 Parish of Brighthelmstone 6 November 1817 Fatally wounded when accidentally bayoneted by the military during a riot.
Albert Edward Craig PC 31 Brighton Borough Police 16 November 1940 Fatally injured in a collision with a motor lorry while cycling to duty.
Lawrence Holford WRC 48 Brighton Borough Police 30 April 1941 Killed on duty as two allied aircraft collided and he was hit by debris.
Harold Stone WRC 40 Brighton Borough Police 18 December 1942 Killed by enemy action whilst on duty during an enemy air raid.
Frank William Barker PC 33 Brighton Borough Police 25 May 1943 Killed in an enemy air raid after moving a party of children to safety.
Kenneth Grinstead PC 31 Brighton Borough Police 25 May 1943 Killed by enemy action whilst on duty during an enemy air raid.
Arthur Frederick Yerrill PC 57 Brighton Borough Police 5 October 1951 Fatally injured when he fell alighting from a bus while reporting for duty.
Dennis John Owens Sgt 37 Eastbourne Borough Police 26 October 1940 Killed dealing with an unexploded bomb following an enemy air raid.
Nelson Oliver Hugh Kemp SPC 33 Hastings Borough Police 26 September 1940 Killed in an enemy air raid, duty status unknown.
John King PC 38 Hastings Borough Police 1 July 1955 Collapsed and died at St. Leonards shortly after reporting for night duty.

Key to rank abbreviations: A/x = Acting • CC = Chief Constable • ACC = Assistant Chief Constable • CEO = Civilian Explosives Officer • Cmdr = Commander • DC = Detective Constable • DI = Detective Inspector • DS = Detective Sergeant • Insp = Inspector • PC = Police Constable • Sgt = Sergeant • SPC = Special Police Constable • Stn Sgt = Station Sergeant • Supt = Superintendent • WPC = Woman Police Constable • WRC = War Reserve Constable.

Road casualties in Sussex

As well as preventing and detecting crime, Sussex Police have a responsibility to reduce the number of casualties on the roads. Additionally, in her 2012 PCC election manifesto, Katy Bourne said that the biggest issue raised in her Sussex Crime Survey was road safety. "Katy will encourage the police to target accident ‘black spots’ and high risk drivers and continue ‘Operation Crackdown’ to tackle anti-social driving."[24] The following table shows the combined total figures for the number of casualties on the roads of East Sussex, West Sussex, and Brighton and Hove for the most recent five years for which data is available.[25][26][27][28][29][30]

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Fatal 78 63 56 64 43
Serious 946 911 772 866 842
Slight 5,225 4,928 4,461 4,311 4,197
Total 6,249 5,902 5,289 5,241 5,082

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3
  2. "Tables for 'Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2013". HM Government. Office for National Statistics. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Non-emergency enquiries." (Archive) Sussex Police. Retrieved on 13 February 2011. "Sussex Police Headquarters Church Lane, Lewes East Sussex, BN7 2DZ."
  4. "police Recruitment History of Sussex Police"
  5. "SPI"
  6. In December 2013 Martin Richards announced that he would retire in 2014.Policing Today 9 Dec 2013.
  7. "Sussex police - Who Are We"
  8. Home Office (July 2008). Police Service Strength.
  9. Home Office (July 2009). Police Service Strength.
  10. Home Office (July 2010). Police Service Strength.
  11. Home Office (July 2011). Police Service Strength.
  12. Home Office (July 2012). Police Service Strength.
  13. [1][dead link]
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 "Sussex Police Website"
  15. "SPCC Website"
  16. BBC NEWS | Politics | Police forces 'to be cut to 24'
  17. BBC NEWS | England | Southern Counties | Forces happy at 'no merger' news
  18. HMIC (July 2011). Valuing the Police: Preparedness Inspection - Sussex Police.
  19. "Sussex Police to cut 1,050 jobs - BBC News". Retrieved 20 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Police March In London May 2012". Retrieved 20 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Sussex Police People (November 2011). Sussex Police People archive pages and blogs.
  22. Keep up to date with what’s happening in Sussex with Sussex Police’s mobile website. [2].
  23. "Police Roll of Honour Trust"
  24. "in touch" "News from Katy Bourne and Sussex Conservatives" 2012 PCC election manifesto.
  25. [3][dead link]
  29. West Sussex council. Summary casualty data for West Sussex.
  30. Brighton and Hove City Council. Road collision and casualty data.

External links