As retired Police Commander Graham Bartlett and current Brighton Police commander Nev Kemp, unveil a macabre commemorative plague in the very same office, that Sussex Chief Constable Henry Solomon was bludgeoned to death with a poker, let’s remember three scandals involving Sussex Chief Constables which mark the Brighton Connection, as playing a pivotal role in the history of our national police force.
Read more: Graham Bartlett: Where is your honour?
- Henry Solomon
- Athelstan Popkess
- Martin Richards
Taken from Wikipedia.
Solomon was appointed as Chief Constable — the highest rank in the force — on 18 May 1838, while interviewing a prisoner — 23-year-old John Lawrence, for theft of a roll of carpet — on 13 March 1844, Solomon was bludgeoned by Lawrence with a poker, causing a head injury from which he later died.
The only Chief Constable in the United Kingdom to have been murdered in his own police station.
His ghost reputedly haunts the basement of the building, now a town hall. He is buried in the Florence Place Old Jewish Burial Ground in Brighton’s Round Hill district, where he has been considered to be the ‘celebrity’ grave.
The inscription on Solomon’s gravestone reads: 15 years chief officer of police / of the town of Brighton / who was brutally murdered / while in the public discharge / of the duties of his office / on the 14th day of March 1844 / in the fiftieth year of his age.
The scandal of Athelstan Popkess was the reason the Police Act of 1964 was made law. It changed policing forever by transferring accountability from the then Watch Committees, to the Home Secretary. 50 years later the Home Sectary transferred accountability to Police and Crime Commissioners, and now we are back to Brighton, and the third scandal involving a Sussex Chief Constable, is bringing national policing full circle.
Taken from Wikipedia.
Popkess’s career was abruptly cut short in 1960 over an issue in the constitutional question of control of the police. He refused to hand over a report into financial irregularities by some City Council members to the Watch Committee. He was suspended as unfit for office under the Municipal Corporations Act 1882. Intervention by Rab Butler, the Home Secretary saw him reinstated but he retired that same year.
The “Popkess Affair” was a prime factor in the appointment of the Royal Commission and the subsequent Police Act 1964 which sought to establish the respective powers of the Home Secretary, a Police Authority and the Chief Constable.
It’s come full circle with the scandal of Martin Richards. The fact that he has been forced to “Step aside” in the face of an unprecedented third complaint for misconduct, and that the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne (paid £1.1 million of tax payers money a year to hold him to account,) is in fact covering up for him and allowing him to retain his pension, is the scandal which is going to take the responsibility of accountability out of the hands of politicians and back into the hands of Watch committees.
WE’VE COME FULL CIRCLE.
While Wikipedia hasn’t been updated, I expect it’ll read something like this.
Martin Richards was the Chief Constable of Sussex Police, taking control on 1 October 2008 and “stepped aside” in disgrace on 8 February 2014. Previously, he served as Chief Constable of the Wiltshire Police.
Read more: Martin Richards: Up-Close and Personal.
During July 2012 he was investigated by the IPCC on a misconduct charge, which the IPCC later judged he had no case to answer.
Shortly after this case a 38 Degree petition was published, linking Martin Richards to a paedophile ring in Adur District Council.
Having had his contract extended by a year in 2013, he was expected to serve until October 2014. Events took a nose-dive when he was named in a case of serious assault and fraud committed at the Bohemia Police Station in Hastings. Katy Bourne tasked her number two, Mark Streater to investigate. Mark Streater, having served 30 years in Sussex Police concluded Martin Richards had no case to answer. (He just incidentally forgot to include the complainant’s statements in his investigation.)
Martin Richards is currently serving a jail term for malfeasance of office, alongside Katy Bourne, Mark Streater, Mary Clarke, Natacha Skelton and Giles York.
Read more: Why Martin Richards really retired early?
SUSSEX POLICE IS THE LAUGHING STOCK OF UK POLICING.