I live in Brighton, it’s a nice place full of lots of different types and extremely tolerant. Easy Going might be a good description. But I have started to worry about the effect of living somewhere like Brighton has on the Police.
I come from Bradford in West Yorkshire a City riddled with drug crime and violence, in fact it’s probably one of the poorest and most lawless places in Europe. The Police have a tough job there; they criminals are violent and don’t see the Police as much of an obstacle. It’s a dangerous place. Nothing could be more of a contract with Brighton, truly nothing.
In Bradford Police resources have to be used sparingly, they have developed a light touch and a lot of community systems that mean they don’t run out of staff or money. By contract Sussex Police have nothing to do really; there’s very little crime and what there is they can’t solve as it’s spur of the minute stuff. As a result the Police here sit in parks in the afternoon - if it’s sunny of course – and stay well away from the public.
You never see a Policeman walking anywhere, the Community Bobbies do all that stuff, the Police only ever come out with cars or motor bikes (they do seem to like their motor bikes) and have no intention of making a connection with the people of Brighton – connection being the thing that is seen as vital and most successful for Police Forces in tough areas.
In short, the Sussex Police are remote and have a reputation for being immensely heavy handed in a county where they are probably 100% overmanned if they policed the place properly.
Take as an example the May Day march today. Fifty youngsters, quite a few of them hippies I would guess; the sort who will head for Glastonbury later in the summer, waving flags banging drums and dancing. But for the Police a chance to flex their muscle. Over 100 officers kettled them using horses, motorbikes (they had 8 there!) and massed ranks of these otherwise under utilised bobbies. Oh and let’s not forget the helicopter. What a fabulous day out for the men in blue.
I’m sure they were all happy for the overtime but we have cuts to worry about at the moment don’t we?
Last week we had the English Defence League in town. The policing was far lighter but then if you kettle that lot they fight back and I’m sure our bobbies don’t want to fight anybody over the age of 18, they might get hurt!
So my congratulations to Sussex Police for spending around £100,000 in 3 hours on policing 40 youngsters who just wanted to have a dance and bang their drums whilst protecting the fascists of the EDL when they brought their offensive brand of politics to town.
Well done Sussex Police – and you wonder why the people of Brighton think you are a joke!