Chosen by Andy George, member of staff
Police occurrence books were daily diaries containing a record of every official occurrence reported within the Division. The books contain reports of enquiries and observations made by the police whilst out on patrol; incidents attended by the police; attendance of person at a police station, and many notes. Information recorded included date, offence, no. in Charge Book, no. in Summons Book, particulars of occurrence, and notes of the steps taken by the police.
A note in the first pages of this particular occurrence book covering the Horsham Division states that ‘the entries are to be made in a full and intelligible manner, so that a strange officer may readily take up the case, seeing what has already been done towards detection’.
Covering the period 28 Feb 1891 – 18 May 1899, the book contains a series of detailed incident reports including many offences that today’s police would not have to deal with. There are reports of begging, horse and cattle straying, and being drunk in charge of a horse and cart, in addition to the more common larceny, vagrancy, and being drunk and disorderly.
One unusual report concerned a balloon accident in July 1895. Neil Campbell, described as an ‘Aeronaut’, was attempting to parachute from his balloon into a meadow near Albion Road, Horsham. Unfortunately the balloon collided with the tops of the houses in Albion Road, and Mr Campbell was thrown from the balloon. He suffered a badly fractured skull and thigh together with internal injuries. The perils of 19th century balloon flights!
Note on access: Please be aware that information contained within police records held at West Sussex Record Office may be subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and therefore access may be restricted.