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The Brighton Police Scandal (Hardback)

A Story of Corruption, Intimidation & Violence

Local History True Crime P&S History 20th Century 20th Century England

By Dick Kirby
Imprint: Pen & Sword True Crime
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 28 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399017282
Published: 4th October 2021

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In the late 1950s the reputation of Brighton as a popular seaside resort took a sinister and notorious turn.

After a series of drunken disturbances, suspicions were raised that the owner of the Astor Club, which became known globally as ‘The Bucket of Blood’, was bribing members of the town’s CID to ignore licencing hours.

The situation escalated to the point where Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad was called in. Their investigation soon revealed that these bribes were the tip of a police corruption iceberg. Criminality among crooked cops had been going on for years. Provided money was paid, charges were dropped, previous convictions overlooked and evidence disappeared. Others were ‘fitted up’ unless they paid up. Police were party to burglaries, assisting in the ‘fencing’ of stolen property and protection payments from bookmakers, clubs and bars.

During the scandal filled trial of the Chief Constable and CID ringleaders there was perjury, violent witness intimidation with one having his premises burnt to the ground. All this and more is described in this meticulously researched account of one of Britain’s most publicised police corruption scandals written with insider knowledge.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I picked this because it was a true story, and I didn’t know anything about the Brighton Scandal. This was brilliant, well written, informative, and so interesting.

NetGalley, Susie Ford

"Kirby does a good job with his books, and it is good to think that the material is being recovered and ordered for future generations."

Robert Bartlett

The Brighton Police Scandal was something I wasn’t aware of despite the size and complexity of the fraud, deceit and law breaking that was undertaken and in this well researched book the author, Dick Kirby, unravels and presents what happened and how the perpetrators were brought to justice.

This is a very interesting read and is recommended.

NetGalley, Lee Carson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I LOVE true crime, and so this was an instant hit for me! I had not yet heard of the Brighton Police Scandal, but loved every second of it! I would recommend to all crime fans!

NetGalley, PartridgePages Blog

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Brighton Police Scandal is the latest true crime book from the consistently excellent Dick Kirby.
It was quite easy for Police in 1950's Brighton to find serious criminals, too often a quick glance in the nearest mirror would do the job. From taking bribes that kept notorious dens of iniquity ignore licencing laws, fencing stolen goods, aiding and abetting burglars,thieves to dropping charges for money and much more the situation the rot went as high as the Chief Constable.

The situation was so bad that Scotland Yard's Flying Squad, more usually investigating London's most notorious Underworld villains than a provincial Police force were called in.
Even during the eventual trial events carried on more in the manner of the 1960's Palermo Mafia trials than a trial in an English seaside town,with witness intimidation ,perjury and an arson attack trying to "influence" the outcome.

As ever with one of Dick Kirby's books events are meticulously detailed and the full extent of the blatant corruption that had become normal amongst the elite of the Brighton Police is quite mind-blowing.

Another great read from Dick Kirby

NetGalley, Dave Blendell

I really enjoyed this book.
I wasn't aware of the scandal before I read it, and it was interesting to learn about the history of Policing, and how getting a promotion didn't always mean you were suitable for the role.
It was interesting to read about how the events unfolded, and how easy it was for the corrupt officers for so long.
This wiĺl be a great read for anyone interested in the murky world of Police corruption, and how the scandal changed the way Chief Constables and higher ups were promoted.

NetGalley, Emma Potter

This was a very different kind of book than what I normally read. Dick Kirby writes an interesting book about crooks, police corruption and how the public really have no idea of what really goes on in the force. There were several brave cops who ended up taking down a dirty criminal and his gang, through hard work, frustration and patience that they would eventually lead them to bringing him down. Must have been really tough for these police, especially knowing there was so much corruption in their own ranks. In many ways an eye opener of a book and one that I will remember for a long time, raw and at times hard to understand that what was happening was real life. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the way policing and crime coincide.

NetGalley, Lee Cooper
 Dick Kirby

About Dick Kirby

Dick Kirby was born in the East End of London and joined the Metropolitan Police in 1967. Half of his twenty-six years’ service was spent with Scotland Yard’s Serious Crime Squad and the Flying Squad.


Kirby contributes to newspapers and magazines on a regular basis, as well as appearing on television and radio. The Guv’nors, The Sweeney, Scotland Yard’s Ghost Squad, Brave Blue Line, Death on the Beat, Scourge of Soho, Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad, London’s Gangs at War, Scotland Yard’s Gangbuster, The Mayfair Mafia, Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad, The Racetrack Gangs and IRA Terror on Britain’s Streets are all published under the Wharncliffe True Crime imprint and he has further other published works to his credit. On retirement he lives near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. 

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