The Conservatives returned to pow-er with a huge ma-jority in last week’s Horsham District Council elections after beating off the strongest chal-lenge ever mounted against them.
Only one of their 36 candidates failed to get elected giving them a majority of 28 over Liberals and Independents.
The alliance, fielding 21 candidates, polled well in several wards, but man-aged to capture only one new seat to bring its representation on the council to two.
Labour, despite having 16 candidates – more than ever before – still has no councillors.
The new council comprises 35 Con-servatives, two Liberals and five Independents filling 42 seats – one less than before the election, when Rusper lost one of its two seats because of boundary changes.
alliance press officer Tom Pearce said he was happy with the SDP/Liberal showing, but naturally disappointed that they had not won more seats.
He issued a warning to the Tories: “They thought they’d wipe us out in this elec-tion and that we’ll go away with our tails between our legs and never be seen again. They could not be more wrong.”
The ‘thin blue line’ has had its resources stretched further by crime figures which have more than doubled in 14 years, says the Chief Constable of Sussex in his last annual report.
Referring to the phrase he coined 20 years ago, Sir George Terry said: “In a democratic society it can and should only be a ‘thin blue line’ – if it becomes greater then we are a police state.”
Since the joint Sussex force was created in 1968 reported crimes have risen by 113 per cent from 29,124 to 62,025 last year.
Manpower has risen in the same period by just 20 per cent including the additional personnel required when Sussex Police took over the responsibility for Gatwick airport.
The need to enforce more legislation has also tested the force’s resources.
“It seems we are becoming the custodians of the morals of society generally and being charged with the task of the enforcement of laws which relate to the misconduct of society.
“It is not that I hesitate over the need to observe a reasonable code of conduct but so many of the items of legislation of recent times which require the police to enforce them, may well account for some worsening of the relationship between the police and the public,” said Sir George.
Sir George, who is retiring soon after 24 years as a chief constable, said the ‘keynote of the future must be prevention’ but this had been hindered recently by tight budgetary controls resulting in fewer detectives and traffic patrols.
Motorcyclists who use Sullington Warren hamlet for off-road riding have been branded as vandals Sandgate Preservation Society chairman John Land says youngsters on motorbikes, pedal cycles and horses are spoiling the heathland for everyone else.
“In my mind, it is nothing short of vandalism. People should be able to go and sit up there without disturbance from motorcycles.
“There are no bridleways in the area so horses should not be there either.”
In the society’s newsletter, Mr Land urges anyone who sees motorcycles using the Warren to take their registration number and report the incident to police.
He admits that other than tyre marks on the ground there is very little visible damage, but insists the Warren is a popular walking area and should not be invaded by machines intended to be ridden on the road.
He warned that unless some action was taken, the problem of motorcycle ‘trails riding’ on the Warren could become as serious as on parts of the Downs.