On the Brighton Beat

Memoirs of an old-time copper

David Rowland joined Brighton Police in June 1958 and served with the force until February 1985. During those 27 years he was a beat policeman, a dog handler, a driver and a radio and teleprinter operator, as well as playing a significant role in the local branch of the Police Federation. Well known for his local books on military themes, he here tells some colourful stories about life in the police force during a social era which has passed - and he is not afraid to make some harsh criticisms along the way. He was involved with many famous incidents and met his share of the famous and notorious. Was he a Dixon of Dock Green character or a Sweeney type? Read the book and judge for yourself!

Here is an excerpt from the book, which recounts a Beatles concert in the Middle Street Hippodrom in 1964:

"It was soon time for the Beatles to go on stage, and at a signal I moved out into the theatre and the extremely noisy auditorium. I took my place in the front with about a dozen colleagues, looking out at a sea of faces, shouting out their favourite Beatle's name, each one trying to shout louder than their friends. The announcer then called out each name: 'George, Ringo, John and Paul, The Beatles!'. Then with a great crescendo of noise, the curtains opened and there they were in their familiar suits and haircuts, their own distinctive look. The screams from the young audience raised a number of decibels, and was truly deafening. It was impossible to hear the Beatles playing their familiar hit songs. The temperature inside the theatre was stifling, and many young girls fainted and needed first aid. Many of the young audience had become so excited that they had wet themselves. Although everyone had a seat, no one was sitting down: everyone was standing to get the best possible view.

While the band played their very famous and popular songs, items continually flew from the audience onto the stage. There was the usual hail of jelly babies, thrown with some accuracy by the screaming girls. These were followed by a huge number of dolls, then programmes, toilet rolls and screwed up paper, on which were scribbled messages addressed to the group. We knew that at some point the girls would charge down the aisles and try to get onto the stage. We were ready, and when it happened it was easy to stop them. They were told to return to their seats, but none did, probably because they couldn't hear what we were saying, added to the fact that they didn't want to.

It took several days before my hearing returned to normal, and I was actually worried that it had received long-term damage. Deep down, however, I was as excited as some of those 4,000 young people who had made up the audience."

On the Brighton Beat
  • ISBN 0-9539392-4-3
  • Price £11.99