Sussex Police
Agency overview
Formed1 January, 1968
Annual budget£328.9 million (2021/22)[2]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionEast and West Sussex, United Kingdom
Map of Sussex Police area
Size3,783 km2 (1,461 sq mi)
Population1.7 million
Legal jurisdictionEngland & Wales
Constituting instrument
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed by
HeadquartersLewes, East Sussex
Constables3,017 (including 106 special constables) (March 2022)[3]
Police Community Support Officers268 (March 2022)
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
Agency executive
Stations40 (6 of which contain custody suites)
Website Edit this at Wikidata
Malling House, Lewes, a Grade I listed building.

Sussex Police are the territorial police force responsible for policing in the whole of Sussex. Their jurisdiction covers the ceremonial counties of East Sussex and West Sussex. Their headquarters are in Malling House, Lewes, East Sussex.[4]


Policing in the county can be traced back to Brighton Borough Police established 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. By 1930, it had grown to 216 officers.[clarification needed][citation needed] On 14 September 1933, Brighton Borough Police were the first force to introduce police radios.

Forces were established at various times for the counties of East Sussex and West Sussex, as well as separate forces in the boroughs of Brighton, Hove, Eastbourne and Hastings. In April 1943, in order to provide a co-ordinated approach to the wartime emergency, these forces were amalgamated to form the Sussex Combined Police, with headquarters at Haywards Heath.[5] In April 1947, with the exception of Hove, policing reverted to the old system for another two decades. Hove remained part of East Sussex Constabulary.

On 1 January 1968, Sussex Constabulary was created from the amalgamation of Brighton Borough Police, Eastbourne Borough Police, Hastings Borough Police, West Sussex Constabulary and East Sussex Constabulary. In 1974, the amalgamated forces became Sussex Police.[6]

Chief constables

Brighton Constabulary
Sussex Constabulary

Sussex Police Roll of Honour

The Police Roll of Honour Trust and Police Memorial Trust list and commemorate all British police officers killed in the line of duty. Since its establishment in 1984, the Police Memorial Trust has erected 50 memorials nationally to some of those officers. A list of officers of Sussex Police and its predecessors who died on duty (in progress) is shown below:[11]

Name Rank Age Force Date of death Circumstances
William James Avis 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.

Old Police Cells Museum

Opened on 4 May 2005 by Councillor Pat Drake, the then mayor of Brighton & Hove, the Old Police Cells 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 is possible to view the old cells with their graffiti from the mods and rockers era, the policemen'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.[12]


Sussex Police is commanded by Chief Constable Jo Shiner. The remainder of the command team consists of Deputy Chief Constable Dave Mclaran Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Dando and Assistant Chief Constable Howard Hodges, Also forming part of the command team are the assistant chief officer, the director of finance and chief information officer although these roles are filled by civilian members of staff.[13]

The force consists of three divisions, each being led by a chief superintendent: West Sussex, East Sussex, and Brighton & Hove.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, Crawley, Mid Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Wealden, Lewes, Eastbourne, Rother and Hastings.

Sussex Police is also responsible for policing Gatwick Airport.

Districts are further divided into Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPT), 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 also serve alongside various teams including NRT, Prevention and on specialist teams such as RPU and Dogs units; they have full police powers when on duty.

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, seven 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.

The force has a total of six custody suites located around the force area for the detainment of arrested persons. They are located in Brighton with 36 cells, Crawley with 27 cells, Eastbourne with 22 cells, Hastings with 10 cells, Worthing with 19 cells, and Chichester with 19 cells.[14]

Sussex Police officer and staff numbers:
2007/08[15] 2008/09[16] 2009/10[17] 2010/11[18] 2011/12[19] 2012/13[20] 2013/14[21] 2014/15[22] 2015/16[23] 2016/17[24]
Police officers 3,075 3,196 3,213 3,102 2,959 2,847 2,805 2,810 2,666 2,587
Special constables 199 216 240 293 348 350 366 393 387 301
PCSOs 372 399 377 351 335 358 349 325 249 180
Police staff 1,974 2,080 2,139 1,949 1,881 1,911 1,941 1,837 1,831 1,831

Police and Crime Commissioner

Main article: Sussex 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.

Sussex Police Authority had nine councillors (drawn from the three councils), three justices of the peace and five independent members.[25]

Specialist units

Air Support Unit

Main article: Sussex Police Air Operations Unit

Police aviation is provided across England and Wales by the National Police Air Service (NPAS). Prior to its establishment in 2012, 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. The closest NPAS base to Sussex Police is at Redhill Aerodrome in neighbouring Surrey. The helicopter's call-sign is NPAS 15 and it has a registration of G-CPAS. This aircraft was previously used by Cleveland Police until NPAS was formed.


Sussex Police has 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.

The CTIU is involved in the disruption and detection of terrorist activity and has close links between local police and the communities it serves. It also works at ports and airports alongside Border Force[26]

Dog Support Unit

A Ford Mondeo of Sussex DSU at Chichester

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 effective 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.[12]

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.[12]

Roads Policing Unit (RPU)

BMW 3 Series Road Policing Unit

The Road Policing Unit (RPU) covers the whole force from three bases. Those bases include Sussex Police HQ (Lewes), Arundel and Hastings. 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. Vehicles in use include fully marked and unmarked vehicles of various types fitted with covert warning equipment.

Specialist Enforcement Unit (SEU)

The SEU was formed on 26 January 2021 with the sole task of denying criminals the use of the roads, particularly car crime such as car theft and ‘county line’ drug smuggling between counties. It differs from the RPU as it targets these specific areas.

Specialist Search Unit (SSU)

This unit was disbanded in June 2015, due to cuts in the police budget.[12][27]

Prior to disbandment Specialist Search Unit officers searched where other police officers could not go. They were trained to search in demanding environments that needed 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 were experts in searching for missing people, stolen property, drugs, weapons and firearms, and they were also licensed to find and identify improvised explosive devices. A police boat was used by the unit to undertake marine patrols along the Sussex coastline and during diving operations.[12]

Tactical Firearms Unit (TFU)

Sussex Police Tactical Enforcement Unit ( TEU) 2012

The Tactical Firearms Unit covers the entire force from two bases. Those bases include Sussex Police HQ (Lewes) and Gatwick. 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.[12]

Use of drones

Sussex Police currently operates a number of different drone models in conjunction with Surrey Police to assist with searches for missing persons, road traffic collisions, major crime and industrial accident investigation, event planning and management, and to provide situational awareness to officers and commanders in a variety of policing situations. The drones are small battery powered rotor systems, commonly known as quad or hexacopters. They are powered by either four or six electric motors and take off and land vertically like helicopters.[citation needed]

Police cadets

Sussex Police, like many other forces in the UK, has 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 clip on tie, black police fleece with hi-vis cadet badges, hi-vis police coat with cadet badges, black trousers. Epaulette saying "cadet" and a visible rank designation (normally chevrons (inversed), although they have now switched to bars), these will be located on the shoulders of the cadet's shirt, fleece and hi-vis. Standard issue police cap with a blue band and Sussex Police crest (without the crown) 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, as well as low risk police activities such as area searches for weapons (Weapon Sweeps), leaflet delivery.

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.[28] Opposed by both Sussex Police and Surrey Police, the plans were effectively abandoned by the Home Office in July 2006.[29]

In a report published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in July 2011,[30] 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.[31]

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.[32]

Online initiatives

In November 2011, Sussex Police became the first force worldwide to live stream unedited footage during a 24-hour period.[33]

Published in March 2012, Sussex Police became the first force in the UK to launch a mobile based app for reporting crime.[34]

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."[35] 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.[36][37][38][39][40][41]

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


Coat of arms of Sussex Police
Granted 30 May 1969[42]
Azure, a tower between five martlets Or.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Police Performance 2007/2008 | Home Office". Archived from the original on 17 November 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
  2. ^ "Approval of the Council Tax Precept, Revenue and Capital Budgets 2021/22" (PDF). Sussex Police. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Tables for 'Police workforce, England and Wales". HM Government. Office for National Statistics. 31 March 2022. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  4. ^ "Non-emergency enquiries." (Archive) Sussex Police. Retrieved on 13 February 2011. "Sussex Police Headquarters Church Lane, Lewes East Sussex, BN7 2DZ."
  5. ^ "Wartime Sussex Police Force". The National Archives. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  6. ^ "police Recruitment History of Sussex Police" Archived 7 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "SPI" Archived 24 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Old Police Cells Museum". Old Police Cells Museum. Archived from the original on 22 June 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Chief Police Officers". House of Commons. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Chief constable announces his retirement". The Argus. 27 April 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Police Roll of Honour Trust"
  12. ^ a b c d e f "Sussex Police Website"
  13. ^ "Sussex police – Who Are We"
  14. ^[bare URL PDF]
  15. ^ Home Office (July 2008). Police Service Strength.
  16. ^ Home Office (July 2009). Police Service Strength.
  17. ^ Home Office (July 2010). Police Service Strength.
  18. ^ Home Office (July 2011). Police Service Strength.
  19. ^ Home Office (July 2012). Police Service Strength.
  20. ^ "Tables for 'Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2013' – GOV.UK". Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  21. ^ "Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2014 – GOV.UK". Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  22. ^ "Police workforce, England and Wales: 31 March 2015 – GOV.UK". Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2016 – GOV.UK". Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  24. ^ "Police workforce, England and Wales: 31 March 2017 – GOV.UK". 20 July 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  25. ^ "SPCC Website" Archived 5 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "A page about what Sussex Police do - Sussex Police". Archived from the original on 11 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  27. ^ Hello (4 June 2015). "Cuts Have Consequences campaign launched by Sussex Police Federation". Bexhill Observer. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  28. ^ BBC NEWS | Politics | Police forces 'to be cut to 24'
  29. ^ BBC NEWS | England | Southern Counties | Forces happy at 'no merger' news
  30. ^ HMIC (July 2011). Valuing the Police: Preparedness Inspection – Sussex Police[permanent dead link].
  31. ^ "Sussex Police to cut 1,050 jobs – BBC News". BBC News. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  32. ^ "Police March In London May 2012". Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  33. ^ Sussex Police People (November 2011). Sussex Police People archive pages and blogs.
  34. ^ Keep up to date with what’s happening in Sussex with Sussex Police’s mobile website. [1].
  35. ^ "in touch" "News from Katy Bourne and Sussex Conservatives" 2012 PCC election manifesto.
  36. ^ "[ARCHIVED CONTENT] UK Government Web Archive – The National Archives". 30 September 2011. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  37. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  38. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  39. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  40. ^ West Sussex council. Summary casualty data for West Sussex.
  41. ^ Brighton and Hove City Council. Road collision and casualty data.
  42. ^ "Sussex Police Authority". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 20 November 2022.