Memoirs of 40 years of policing in West Sussex and Brighton

A former West Sussex police officer reveals the many humorous aspects of policing in Sussex over the past 40 years in his new book.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 9:05 am
Retired Sussex Police Inspector Neil Sadler
Retired Sussex Police Inspector Neil Sadler

Retired Sussex Police Inspector Neil Sadler, aged 67, served across Sussex, starting in Bognor Regis, Crawley, Worthing, Gatwick airport, Mid Sussex, HQ, Horsham and Brighton

He remembers it all in his new book.

Neil passed many hours in the first period of national lockdown compiling the volume (available from [email protected]).

Neil had been giving live talks to a variety of groups across the south-east of England since 2012.

But once the first lockdown arrived, for Neil the excitement of answering the telephone to book a future talk was replaced by the sudden realisation that every call would be a cancellation.

“Over 70 groups would cancel, with many not even considering a rescheduled date. Sadly, for some of those who were brave enough to suggest a new date many months in advance, they would need to cancel for a second time.”

Neil set about doing what he had planned to do many years into the future. So, instead of loading his car with a suitcase full of props, projector and stand on a dark evening and heading for the M25 at rush hour, he decided to follow government advice and “stay at home.”

He began to write down the bulk of his material from his three police-related talks. But he wanted to add an extra dimension. The Inspector Calls: Confessions of a Police Speaker is the result.

Retiring from Sussex Police in 2008 after 30 years’ service, Neil was looking forward to working on a casual basis at police recruit assessment centres. Sadly, the 2010 general election put paid to that idea as all recruitment ground to a sudden halt. Austerity had set in.

Rather than being just a series of “a policeman’s tall tales”, Neil recounts many aspects of policing since his time on the beat in the late 1970s.

What makes this book far more engaging and possibly unique, Neil says, is the reaction he has received from audience members at his talks across the south of England.

These are shown throughout the book as Talks Experiences.

These reactions have included an octogenarian at a Women’s Institute meeting who asked to be handcuffed before he left as she had always wondered what it felt like.

“The new book covers a wide range of subjects from the East End gangland enforcer who tended the prison rose bushes to the nurse who had cared for Albert Pierrepoint, Britain’s most famous executioner.

“Policing Gatwick airport led to many extraordinary experiences, not least the Russian escapee who arrived in rather unusual circumstances. No, it doesn’t have a happy ending!

“Then there was the very expensive sleep-over involving a young couple who turned up late at the airport check-in desk.

“Find out what happened to the hapless Romeo who promised his girlfriend her flight would not be leaving without her! Spoiler alert: it did.

“The bombing of the Grand Hotel by the IRA in 1984 also features.”