April, Spring and Easter but as we look back over this month of March 2003 there is only one thing in our minds, the terrible war in Iraq. Many British, American and Iraqi lives have been lost in the campaign to rid the world of Saddam Hussein, his gang of thugs and the tentacles that may lead to Bin Larden and other terrorists.

As these lines are written and go to press the war is reaching a climax as the allied forces reach the gates of Baghdad.

Here in Rye, a town that has seen its own share of warfare over the centuries, things go on as normal but we must all pray that this War does not get protracted or spill over into other lands. God speed to the young men and women of the Armed Forces who are putting their lives at such risk. Fortunately the British Army, Navy and Air Force has a wonderful recent wartime record and good leadership that puts soldiers in harms way only as a last resort.

Police presence on the streets of Rye seems much improved since the recent Public Meeting. It was also good to see the Sussex Police Chief admitting on television that many more beat officers must be provided. “Contact with the public must be reestablished” he said. The very words we have been using for years. He claimed that Police Stations will be open for “longer hours”. This won’t do unless by ‘longer hours’ he means 24 hours a day.

I expect we shall be told we are repeating ourselves again “keep going on about the police”. We can only say that “Rye’s Own” will keep repeating itself until Rye people get a proper police service again. By that we mean a response time equal to that of Rye Fire Service, 24 hour beat patrols, Police Station open around the clock and a direct ‘active’ phone line to our police station.

Rye townspeople pay a high price, through their rates, for police protection it is wrong that they have to protect themselves. There have been several citizens’ arrests in the town in the past couple of years, each time the delay before the police arrived to assist was more than half an hour. Stabbings, robberies, thefts, burglaries, car crime, drug crime, vandalism have invaded our streets. Wedo have first class officers at Rye – BUT NOT ENOUGH – let us hope the new trend, led by the Sussex Police Commander, is just a start and that soon we shall get at least enough manpower at Rye to protect the 26,000 people here and in the villages. 14 officers are nowhere near enough.

Rye’s Own  April 2003

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